News

Bridge bash budget reaches $260,000

The opening-day celebration for the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge will cost approximately a quarter of a million dollars, according to a budget released by the Washington State Department of Transportation this week.

However, spokeswoman Claudia Cornish said that amount is far from set in stone.

“It changes every day,” Cornish said, explaining that donations the state is accepting, both in-kind and monetary, will affect the price the state will ultimately pay for the festivities.

In fact, the celebration’s cost is already close to $90,000 less than previous estimates.

According to a consultant agreement the WSDOT signed with Seattle company The Workshop, the state awarded that company a $350,000 contract for “Tacoma Narrows Bridge Event Planning, Coordination & Management Services.”

But Cornish explained Thursday that the WSDOT “never intended to spend that much money” on the event.

“We specified that as the maximum amount,” she said, describing the $350,000 as a “ceiling amount” used to make sure her agency would only have to file the paperwork once. “We knew we weren’t going to need that much, but we set up this agreement under that umbrella amount.”

According to the current event budget, the consultant will now be paid $89,000 for their services.

Cornish confirmed that amount, and said that certain tasks that would have previously been performed by the consultants had been shifted to state employees.

“We expected to end up paying $200,000 on the ceremony, but now are planning on $260,000,” she said, adding that donations could lower that amount still more. “We are now able to accept donations, where previous to the last legislative session, we were not.”

Here is how the rest of the celebration budget will be distributed:

• Public Safety — $75,000: Money for uniformed officers from the Tacoma and Gig Harbor Police Departments, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management and the Washington State Patrol, along with portable restrooms, barricades, and equipment including radio rental.

• Insurance — $28,000: A special insurance policy is being purchased to guard against unexpected liability to the state.

• Transportation and Access — $31,000: Buses from Pierce Transit, parking lot costs, and credentials for parking lot attendants and drivers.

• Event Programming — $14,500: Stages, ribbons and scissors, tents for shade, sound system, rental trucks, T-shirts for volunteers.

• Promotional Materials — $16,000. Souvenir insert for The News Tribune, self-guided tour and site programs.

• Site Logistics — $8,000. Electrical support, custodial services, trailer, permits, etc.

• Professional Services — $89,000: Event planning services from on-call event planning consultant.

• The total of the expenses list-

ed above is approximately $260,000, and as of Wednesday, the WSDOT reported that spon-sorship pledges of cash and in-

kind services totaled approx-imately $70,000.

The celebration is scheduled for July 15, and begins at 8 a.m. with a 5K run.

For more donation information contact Van Collins at (253) 272-7725.

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