Nisqually State Park

Nisqually State Park is in its second phase of development, but has been in the works for over 30 years.

Three projects in the 2nd Legislative District will receive funding in the 2020 Washington state supplemental capital budget — that’s if future revisions due to the novel coronavirus and associated financial crisis don’t cause lawmakers to reconsider the spending. 

The ongoing project to develop the Nisqually State Park received $832,000 to create a facilities building to accommodate Washington State Parks staff. 

The Yelm Lions Club received $207,000 for a cabin renovation and Roy’s Save the Water Tower project has received roughly $26,000 for work on the historic downtown structure, according to budgeted funds. 

While lawmakers have appropriated these funds, it’s unclear if or how the ongoing coronavirus crisis will affect the payments. Further budgeting could lead to these funds being scaled back or removed for this budget cycle. 

Carol Dittbenner, secretary and member of Roy-based Save the Water Tower, said she’s worried somewhat about the affects the coronavirus-related financial crisis will likely have on those funds. 

The $26,000 allocated to her organization will help them fully revitalize the wooden water tower, which can be seen along State Route 507 and serves as a symbol of the history of the area. 

The capital budget funds would cover the costs needed to revitalize the structure, which also includes installing a kiosk and some picnic tables nearby, Dittbenner said. 

“I guess we could seek other funding to get money for the water tower. There are some grants and funds out there that we could seek,” she said. 

Late last year, Save the Water Tower received $2,500 from the Nisqually Indian Tribe charitable fund. Dittbenner said they’ve been pursuing additional grants with the Puyallup and Muckleshoot tribes, but those have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Lisa Bellefond, policy and outreach director of the Washington State Parks Foundation, said the new Nisqually State Park, which boasts more than 1,000 square acres of land to explore, has been a collaborative project with the nearby Nisqually Indian Tribe. 

“What’s really important about this project is working with the Nisqually Tribe because it’s truly a historical and cultural site,” she said. 

The park was open for day-use only before the coronavirus crisis closed all state parks. The goal is to eventually develop camping spots into the site. 

Last spring, it was announced that the project would receive $3 million in capital budget funds. 

On Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that all state parks would reopen on May 5. 

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