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August 13, 2018

Skagit County recognized with Smart Communities award for Community Justice Center environmental cleanup partnership

Skagit County officially received the 2018 Governor’s Smart Communities Award today for its innovative partnership with the city of Mount Vernon and state Department of Ecology on the Community Justice Center Brownfield Redevelopment. The award was first announced in May 2018.

The Smart Projects Award recognizes a project that implements a comprehensive plan. In the award, the state Department of Commerce noted that Skagit County’s Community Justice Center Brownfield Redevelopment “demonstrates a strong understanding of the value of productive farmland and encouraging reuse of underutilized properties rather than expansion into undeveloped lands. With the support of partners, including the Washington State Department of Ecology, Skagit County successfully completed the necessary environmental cleanup and construction of a state-of-the art essential public facility to serve county citizens for decades to come.”

“A project of this scale is only as successful as its partnerships,” said Skagit County Board of Commissioners Chair Ken Dahlstedt. “We’re incredibly fortunate to have a strong relationship with the city of Mount Vernon, great teamwork between our architects at DLR, our construction contractors from Lydig and our project management team, as well as ongoing oversight of the site cleanup from Maul Foster & Alongi and the state Department of Ecology.”

The Smart Communities program recognizes achievements by local leaders who promote smart growth planning and projects that contribute to thriving communities, a prosperous economy, and sustainable infrastructure in the state.

“The Skagit County Community Justice Center is a prime example of the effectiveness of state and local government working together in community building,” said Justin Clary, Principal Engineer with Maul Foster & Alongi. “Without this partnership, the conversion of an underutilized and contaminated property into a public facility that will serve county residents for years to come would likely not have occurred. MFA has been honored to support this worthwhile project.”
The Justice Center occupies what had been a contaminated site, formerly known as Truck City Truck Stop. With $1.5 million dollars in Department of Ecology Remedial Action Grant funding, the county cleaned up the contamination in 2015 as part of its preparations for construction of the new Justice Center. Earlier this year, Ecology removed the site from its contaminated sites list, based on findings from monitoring that the property no longer poses a threat to human health or the environment. 

“We were excited to be able to help the county convert a brownfield into an important and needed community facility,” said Bob Warren, regional manager for Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program. “Cleanup and re-use of contaminated land makes environmental sense along with the benefit of the site’s new use.”

Washington’s comprehensive Growth Management Act has been in place for 28 years. Using it as a framework, local communities plan and implement their vision for the future. For more information on the Governor’s Smart Communities Awards or the Growth Management Act, visit www.commerce.wa.gov/growth.