Since 2013, the Tolt Avenue Central Business District (CBD) has long awaited construction to create a safer and more livable downtown environment.

The rebuild and redesign along State Route 203 will stretch four blocks from East Eugene Street to East Rutherford Street. Carnation Mayor Kim Lisk predicts construction will begin in February or March, with completion estimated for January 2022. The project was initially intended to begin last year, although it was pushed back due to the pandemic and other design delays.

“Our goal is to increase the livability of the community with places to shop and places to gather,” Interim City Manager Bob Jean said in a video from the city of Carnation. 

Jean said the process will involve new sidewalks, an updated streetscape and general landscaping to beautify the area. The city intends to tie the Carnation Farmer’s Market into the project, he added, creating a focal point in town to celebrate farming and fresh produce.

He hopes the improvement project will generate interest for new businesses to come into town and provide additional options for shopping. By bringing in additional sales and property tax revenue, he noted, it will keep everyone else’s costs down.

“Not only will it be important for the long-term economic health of the community, but we’re doing this without any additional taxes,” he said.

The project is funded primarily by federal and state grants, Jean noted. He said the project will be beneficial for the long-term stability of Carnation. 

Sam Kollar, planning coordinator for the city, said he is excited for the town’s main street to become more livable and walkable. These street improvements will ultimately help with traffic and general pedestrian safety, he added.

Jordan Perry, resident engineer for KPG, will run the day-to-day operations of the four-block site. KPG, a construction management team based out of Seattle, was recently involved in the downtown renovation project in Duvall. 

“The idea is to revitalize the downtown while still minimizing the impacts to people who are currently working here, and making sure the project is seamless,” he said.

Perry said the city of Carnation has already taken steps to alleviate some of the possible concerns of business owners during construction, such as building additional parking spaces in the area surrounding the project to allow for customers and employees to park.

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