Re: “Sprinker: Faded jewel fighting for its life” (letter, 7-1).
The writer cites the Foothills Trail as one of the new parks built over the last quarter century while “Sprinker quietly rotted away.”
While I cannot speak for other projects, I can assure the writer that the Foothills Trail was not built with local tax dollars. In fact, because of the early controversy surrounding the project, then County Executive Joe Stortini attempted to assuage opponents by assuring them that no general funds would be used.
Land purchases, planning and construction of the Foothills Trail were mostly funded with highly competitive state and federal transportation grants as well as likewise competitive state conservation and recreation grants for outdoor programs.
In addition, a volunteer citizen organization, the Foothills Rails-To-Trails Coalition, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate foundation grants and private contributions over the years, part of which financed the Orting model mile of trail which courses through the heart of the city.
Coalition members have spent untold thousands of hours seeking and writing grants, testifying at public hearings, monitoring and promoting the trail, serving as Courtesy Patrol trail ambassadors, constructing bridges, and clearing brush and trail obstacles. These volunteers continue to help maintain the trail and advise Pierce County Parks as to its needs.
(Bay is president emeritus of the Foothills Rails-To-Trails Coalition.)