By Jerome Tuaño
Tumwater Town Council passed its Legislative Program 2023 at a meeting on November 1.
Austin Ramirez, manager of the city’s economic development program, said new elements were added to the document that weren’t in the draft. Additions include the Tumwater Craft District, the Budd Inlet Restoration Project and support for Family Education and Support Services (FESS).
The Legislative Program guides city policy and funding requests to the state legislature. It consists of three parts: Capital and Transportation Proposals, Common Legislative Program and Community Projects.
The first category is for capital and transportation projects that Tumwater actively leads or supports. This category includes the following:
- Connecting E Street to Capitol Boulevard and the Yelm Expressway
- Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Regional Offices Redevelopment
- Tumwater Boulevard and I-5 Interchange
- Gopher Mitigation and Economic Development Funding
- Tumwater Craft District
The craft district of Tumwater was a new addition to this category. According to Ramirez, it has an integrated malt system and storage that aims to connect high-quality locally made beans with local and regional brewers and distillers.
“Right now a lot of brewers and distillers have to go out of state to get their beans, so [the district] would enhance our locally made beans,” Ramirez explained.
The second category, called the Shared Legislative Agenda, is developed with regional partners and includes projects that focus on regional quality of life issues. This category includes the following:
- improvements on I-5
- homeless response funding
- manufacturer space extension
- response to climate change
- Restoration of Budd Inlet
Restoration of Budd Inlet has been added to the agenda to support the Capitol Lake Estuary Project, according to Ramirez. The restoration is led by the Port of Olympia and is a key step before the Lake Capitol dam is removed.
The last category, called community projects, is a new addition to the legislative agenda. Ramirez said Tumwater does not actively engage in community projects, but they are worth supporting because they benefit the city.
In this category is FESS, which requested city support as it petitioned the state legislature for $2.2 million in funding. According to the legislative program, the funds will be used to secure a 15-year lease that would allow the organization to focus on service delivery. The organization supports needy families with basic needs, parenting education, employment, financial counseling and home visiting services.