A rendering of the downtown staircase project that will connect the Performing Arts and Event Center to Town Square Park and the Transit Center. Rendering courtesy of the city of Federal Way

A rendering of the downtown staircase project that will connect the Performing Arts and Event Center to Town Square Park and the Transit Center. Rendering courtesy of the city of Federal Way

Federal Way to host ground-breaking ceremony for $3M staircase project

Project will improve the walkability of downtown Federal Way while connecting the PAEC to Town Square Park and the Transit Center.

Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell, members of the City Council as well as Public Works Department officials and other local dignitaries will gather at noon April 2 adjacent to the Performing Arts and Event Center to ceremonially break ground on the downtown staircase project.

The event will kick off a project that will improve the walkability of downtown Federal Way while connecting the PAEC to Town Square Park and the nearby Federal Way Transit Center.

When completed, the sweeping staircase will offer majestic views of Town Square Park below and Mount Rainier in the distance.

“This is a project that I’ve been looking forward to breaking ground on for several years,” Ferrell said in a press release from the city. “Where there was once a wall, there will now be a place to recreate, eat or meet friends and family. These capital investments such as the park, the Performing Arts and Event Center and now the downtown staircase, will be part of Federal Way’s landscape forever.”

The project entails knocking down the approximately 200-foot long and 23-foot high wall that runs adjacent to 316th Street and replacing it with a crisscrossing connection of ramps, steps, sitting places and a small plaza.

The ramped portion of the downtown staircase has been designed to meet ADA standards, according to a city spokesperson.

The roughly $3 million project utilizes mainly Local Infrastructure Financing Tool (LIFT) funds, which can only be used for capital projects – and $125,000 in real estate excise tax money that the city has had budgeted for several years.

Renton-based R.L. Alia is the contractor for the project, which has been assigned a 100 working-day timeline.


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