Investments in Aurora Avenue could happen

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Senator Reuven Carlyle wants to see millions invested in State Route 99 in Seattle.

SEATTLE – A neglected part of Seattle’s Aurora Avenue may finally be getting attention and investment.

On Sunday, community members joined city and state leaders for a walking tour near the Oak Tree Village mall. Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) said he organized the event to generate interest in investing $50 million in improvements to the area.

Senator Carlyle wants to see money for improvements to the state’s transportation spending package.

“I’m not going to support a package that doesn’t have a serious investment in [State Route] 99,” he said.

Those who live in this region are hopeful, but after more than a decade of hearing about change, they are ready to take action.

“There’s great potential, I think we’ve seen a lot of real potential,” Pastor Keith Carpenter said.

Carpenter’s Epic Life Church has been involved in grassroots revitalization efforts.

Casey Pier attends church and works with another community coalition called “For North Seattle”.

“There are a lot of good things happening here, but it’s just that this narrative is so heavy and that’s why we’re trying to work with the officials,” Pier said. “If they can do what it takes to get the financial investment in the region, we’re very confident we can carry the rest and rock that narrative.”

Carlyle’s vision includes more cafes, stores and lower speeds along the corridor.

“It could be the Champs-Élysées. It doesn’t need to be loaded in the 1950s with a massive artery,” Carlyle said.

Carlyle says a reimagined Aurora could have fewer lanes, lower speeds, more vegetation, more bike lanes and more outdoor amenities and cafes.

“Instead of it being a scar across town, let’s look at it as a community connector,” Carlyle said.

It’s a vision that those who love this community already have, but remain skeptical until the investment comes with those big dreams.

“If that happens, I think this town will be thrilled with what they see coming out of Aurora,” Pier said. “And I think it’s time for Aurora to stand up.”

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