Kenmore withdraws from grant agreement

The grant amounted to $750,000.

The city of Kenmore has withdrawn from a grant agreement that was previously going toward Saint Edward ball field renovations.

The grant was from the Washington state Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) and amounted to $750,000. The city applied for the funds in 2016 and had based the requested number on the costs of the Saint Edward project, which was then estimated to cost $3 million.

“It does not preclude the city from applying in a future year for [RCO] grants,” Debbie Bent, the city’s community development director, clarified at the Nov. 18 city council meeting about the withdrawal.

Kenmore withdrew from the grant for a few reasons. According to the Nov. 18 council meeting agenda item, the grant requires that the project it’s being used for is completed by June 2021, and that the city in question can attain control and tenure of the land by March 2020. Because the city needed to extend the set deadlines for land control and project completion (the ball field is slated to start construction in 2024 or potentially later), it asked the RCO in a recent meeting if grant requirements could possibly be changed.

Kenmore staff also inquired whether the project scope for the environmental impact statement (EIS) (a document that describes the effects a specific renovation will have on the surrounding environment) could be altered.

“In the last update to RCO, we asked if we could amend the grand conditions,” Bent said. “After asking several ways if we could do that, the basic short answer was ‘no.’”

According to the meeting agenda item, RCO told city staff that changing the EIS scope would change how it would be categorized grant-wise. The office also voiced concerns about the changed scheduled project-completion time.

In the letter Kenmore is submitting to RCO, the city is working through the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process, which entails that environmental effects are also considered as the decision-making processes behind a project are underway. The city also noted that it intends to re-apply for a future grant cycle with RCO, likely around 2022.

“We needed to be upfront with RCO and let them know that the project deadline is going way past what the RCO conditions allow,” Bent said.

Now that Kenmore has withdrawn from the agreement, the grant will be given to another jurisdiction that had applied for it in 2016 (like Kenmore) but had been rejected.

The city council had no questions about the decision.

For more information about the grant withdrawal, go to the meeting agenda item. To hear the whole conversation surrounding the update, watch the Nov. 18 meeting recording.