City Hall

McGinn Pledges City Help for South Park

By Erica C. Barnett June 10, 2010

At a community meeting at the South Park Community Center last night, Mayor Mike McGinn reassured South Park residents that the city would do everything in its power to ensure the neighborhood wasn't stranded after the South Park Bridge closes later this month, including providing some funding to replace the bridge. "For a long time, it has been the position of the city government that the bridge belongs to the county and the county has to figure out how to fund it," McGinn said.  "It may be the county's bridge, but this is our neighborhood, and these are our residents and our businesses, and we'll be prepared to work with the county and the state on a funding plan and to do our share to make that work."

Among other things, McGinn said the city would provide marketing, consulting, and promotion services to South Park businesses, implement cleanup programs in the neighborhood, repair potholes and make safety improvements on 14th Ave. S., and increase youth programs in the neighborhoods.

However, McGinn did not commit to a specific funding proposal or dollar figure for the city's share of bridge replacement, noting only that his proposed ballot measure to replace the waterfront seawall could free up some money to pay for the bridge. And he referred obliquely to his pet issue, the downtown deep-bore tunnel, noting that if the state hadn't pledged so much money to that project, it would be able to fund other critical infrastructure needs like the South Park Bridge.

Responding to a South Park resident who demanded that he pledge he would seek $30 million to replace the bridge, McGinn said, "I don't know how much money I have right now to commit to this bridge. We will work with the county, the Port, and other funders, and we will help. But for me to make a dollar commitment requires, as we know, me working with the city council, so I'm not going to put a dollar figure on it."

Responding to another resident who said the city had ignored her neighborhood, McGinn apologized, saying, "I think you're right, and I am sorry. I don't know if that's good enough, but I'm sorry and I want to help."

The South Park Bridge, South Park residents' primary link to mainland Seattle, is scheduled to close permanently on June 30.
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