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City moves forward with Lincoln Avenue upgrade

Lincoln Avenue in Sunnyside should have a new look to it rather soon.

At the recommendation of City Engineer Jim Bridges, the Sunnyside City Council approved this past Monday night moving forward with a project to vastly improve Lincoln Avenue.

Prior to the discussion, Mayor Pro-tem Mike Farmer asked to be excused because his business, Bob's Auto Clinic, is located on Lincoln Avenue.

Bridges said the city, led by Public Works Director Gary Potter, originally applied for a grant to upgrade Lincoln Avenue in August 2002. Sunnyside lost the money for the project with the passage of I-695.

Bridges said the state legislature, though, recognized the need to fund the street projects which lost funding with the passage of I-695. Bridges told the Council the legislature took the money for the projects out of the collection of fines obtained in school zones.

The project will take place along Lincoln Avenue between Sixth Street and 16th Street.

Bridges said he was contacted by John Moffat, director of the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, a few months ago about moving forward with the project.

The grant the city is receiving from the state is in the amount of $52,000. Under the terms of the grant, the city will agree to provide $14,000 in matching funds. The Sunnyside School District will also provide $4,000 in matching funds for the project, since four school buildings are located in that vicinity.

The project will include the installation of sidewalks and ramps to accommodate people with disabilities. There will also be new crosswalks and electronic speed limit signs installed that will make it easier to change the speed limit in school zones.

Sunnyside School District Executive Director of School and Community Resources Ruben Carrera was on hand Monday to voice support for the project.

The project has to be completed by June 2005. Bridges said he would like to see the city begin work on Lincoln Avenue this summer and have it completed by the time school starts in the fall.

Bridges related to the Council officials are hoping the Lincoln Avenue improvement project can become a model for other school districts across the state to mirror.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

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