The State Legislature is currently in special session working to resolve differences in order to pass the State Budget. The State Capital Budget is part of this process. The Capital Budget does more than fund state agency needs. There are also numerous grant programs available to local governments and non-profit organizations. Many of these are administered by the State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO). Most of the programs are evaluated by the RCO for funding by the Legislature. Advocates for trails should pay close attention to how proposed projects are ranked by the RCO and whether ultimately funded by the Legislature. A program that deservedly receives attention is the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP). Within the program are ranked according to which of the several categories it is placed. For example, within the WWRP is a funding category for trails.
This year there are a couple of proposed projects in the WWRP trails category that are of special interest to Pierce County communities. We are very excited for the anticipated success of a state grant request of $2.8 million for the Foothills Trail and bridge across the White River between Buckley and Enumclaw. These funds will be added to existing commitments of over $7.3 million from the sponsor partners. The project will connect the Pierce County portion of the Foothills Trail with the segment currently existing in Enumclaw. It will consist of a 1.1-mile-long trail along a former rail corridor, a new 340-foot-long bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the White River, and a short trail segment on the south side of the river to connect the existing Foothills Trails in Buckley in Pierce County Other improvements include renovating a historic bridge over Boise Creek as part of the trail alignment, installing informational and directional signs, and applying crossing treatments at the trail intersection with Southeast Mud Mountain Road. The bridge itself will be constructed to accommodate emergency vehicles. King County is the lead agency with active support by Pierce County, City of Buckley, City of Enumclaw, Foothills Trail Coalition, Forever Green Trails, and others. The RCO ranked this as the number 2 trail project in the state for legislative funding.
The other great project is a request by the Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma for $2.2 million for construction and renovation of trails in Swan Creek Park. Work would be on about 10 miles of trails, construction of parking, a bridge, a restroom, a picnic shelter, and furnishings and signage. This will result in 14.5 miles of continuous trails in the park and connection to the regional proposed cross county trail. The Park District will contribute an additional $2.9 million. This project was ranked number 16 in the state.
The projects mentioned here are only a couple of the meritorious grant requests forwarded to the Legislature. We are also waiting to hear the outcome of requests for state and local parks, beach access, and farmland, shoreline, and wildlife conservation. We congratulate all agencies and organizations who submitted applications and wish all the requests could be funded.
See more details for the grant requests at:http://www.rco.wa.gov/documents/rcfb/wwrp/2016WWRPGrants.pdf
Summaries from the RCO website
Foothills Trail and Bridge King County
Request: $2,800,000 WWRP Rank 2
Grant for developing the Foothills Trail and Bridge.
The King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks will use this grant to build a 1.1-mile-long trail along a former rail corridor, a new 340-foot-long bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the White River, and a short trail segment on the south side of the river to connect the existing Foothills Trails in Buckley in Pierce County. The trail will be a 12-foot-wide paved path with 2-foot-wide gravel shoulders on each side. Other improvements include renovating a historic bridge over Boise Creek as part of the trail alignment, installing informational and directional signs, and applying crossing treatments at the trail intersection with Southeast Mud Mountain Road. With nearly 20 miles already developed, the Foothills Trail is a significant nonmotorized, multi-use trail corridor, connecting the communities of Puyallup, McMillin, Orting, South Prairie, Buckley, and Enumclaw in Pierce and King Counties. Constructing a bridge over the White River, which will be sized to accommodate emergency vehicles, is an important safety measure, should the State Route 410 bridge – the area’s principle vehicle crossing of the White River – be out of commission. This project is in collaboration with Pierce County and the Cities of Enumclaw and Buckley. King County will contribute more than $7.3 million in cash, a voter approved levy, and donations of cash. For more information and photographs of this project, visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot. (16-1362)
Swan Creek Park Trails MPD of Tacoma
Request: $2,250,000 WWRP Rank 16
Grant for developing Swan Creek Park trails.
The Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma will use this grant to build 2 miles of trails for park access and walking and renovate 7.5 miles of trails for walking and bicycling in the 263-acre Swan Creek Park, a natural area park on the east side of Tacoma in Pierce County. The work will result in 14.5 miles of continuous trails in the park and will include construction of parking, a bridge, a restroom, and a picnic shelter, and installing park furnishings and signs. These trails will connect to the newly-revitalized Salishan neighborhood, the planned eastside community center, and a regional trail. The eastside neighborhood is home to the most diverse population in Tacoma with the second lowest household median income in the city. These improvements will continue the district’s efforts to convert the World War II housing road network into recreation space that is accessible to pedestrians, bicycles, and wheelchairs, while also providing the opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in nature. The Tacoma Metropolitan Park District will contribute more than $2.9 million in voter-approved bonds and a grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. For more information and photographs of this project, visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot. (16-1870)