Region’s trails, including Prairie Line, win federal grants

kari.plog@thenewstribune.comJanuary 2, 2014 

A main section of the Foothills Trail that cuts through the city of Sumner is a key step closer to being finished, thanks to a recent infusion of funds approved by the Puget Sound Regional Council.

Sumner is one of two East Pierce communities that will benefit from a portion of nearly $17 million in trails money awarded Dec. 5 to 13 regional cities and King County.

Four Pierce County cities received money, with the largest amount, more than $2 million, given to Tacoma for a pair of projects. Bonney Lake and Lakewood were also among the recipients of the federal transportation dollars.

The bulk of Tacoma’s funds will help pay for a portion of the Prairie Line Trail from the University of Washington Tacoma campus to the Foss waterfront.

Lakewood’s $156,000 will go toward a piece of trail between Bridgeport Way and Kendrick Street on 112th and 111th streets southwest.

Sumner’s award of $228,624 will pay for project design of a section of trail from West Main Street to Puyallup Street along Fryar Avenue, said associate city engineer Ted Hill.

After design is done, the city will seek more money to cover construction. Hill said he isn’t worried about securing funds for that phase because so much progress has been made already.

The Fryar Avenue section has bike lanes and sidewalks, but it doesn’t meet trail criteria such as width; the design funds will rectify that.

Hill said the new funding is a pivotal first step toward completing a missing link of nearly three-quarters of a mile along the main segment through the city.

“It will complete us,” he said. “It’s going to be cool to have it as trail.”

In Bonney Lake, an award of $273,600 will help cover costs for a portion of the Fennel Creek Trail.

Gary Leaf, Bonney Lake’s facilities and special projects manager, said the funds will pay for design of the 1.5-mile section just north of the Safe Routes Trail. Design is estimated at $342,000, and the city will cover 20 percent of the cost, or about $69,000.

“This is an important next step in the process,” Leaf said, adding that the plateau city hopes to secure construction funding to complete the project by early 2015.

Sumner has been working on completing its trail system for more than 13 years.

The new funds bring the Puyallup Valley a step closer to connecting the Interurban and Foothills systems, which will eventually link together in Sumner and provide access to about 70 miles of regional trails in Pierce and King counties.

Four other sections of trail completed last summer now connect Sumner to the 25-mile Foothills Trail, which runs through Puyallup and Orting toward Mount Rainier.

The city will connect to the Interurban Trail in the north end once the Stewart Bridge replacement and proposed trails in nearby Pacific are complete.

The trail currently ends at Third Avenue Southwest in Pacific, according to King County’s website.

The earliest estimate for completion of Sumner’s entire trail system is 2015. Hill said the timeline relies on when the city can secure construction funds.

He said local trail organizations, such as Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition and ForeverGreen Council, have praised Sumner on its progress.

“They see us as one of the leaders in Pierce County for getting our trails done,” he said.

Leaf echoed that praise and said getting money for Bonney Lake’s trails has been challenging.

“Sumner’s been pretty aggressive in (securing) funding. They’ve been pretty fortunate,” he said. “We’ve been a little bit behind getting this started. Funding is always a big issue.”

CITIES GRANTED TRAILS FUNDING

Tacoma$2,014,372 (two projects)

Bonney Lake$273,600

Sumner$228,624

Lakewood$156,000

Kari Plog: 253-597-8682 kari.plog@thenewstribune.com Source: City of Sumner

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