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State budget cuts hit Phinney Center hard

One of the many programs cut in the recent paring down of the state’s budget is the Heritage Capital Projects Fund, which provides up to $10 million each biennium for preserving historic buildings. The Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) was supposed to received nearly $1 million to renovate its historic building, the John B. Allen School, which it rented for 30 years before purchasing it last year from the Seattle School District.

But Gov. Chris Gregoire has canceled all such grants for the next biennium.
“Because it caught us by surprise, we’re still working through what that means,” PNA Development Director Ann Bowden said. “Our hope had been that we were going to be ready for ground breaking early in 2012. Without that particular grant, we’re trying to figure out whether we stage the design, or whether we do pieces of it as we get more money. We’re still figuring it out.”

Bowden said the PNA will likely stick with its architect’s schedule to have a specific design in place by early next year. In the meantime, “if there’s anybody out there who wants to make a million dollar contribution,” the PNA would certainly welcome it, she said with a laugh.