Letters to the Editor

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PIERCE COUNTY: Trail didn’t drain park dollars

Letter by Ernest C. Bay, Puyallup on July 6, 2010 at 2:28 pm with 2 Comments »
July 8, 2010 9:05 am

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.)

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. bkeyport1970 says:

    “Joe Stortini attempted to assuage opponents by assuring them that no general funds would be used.”

    no general funds, alright, Specific funds, taken straight out of the parks budget.

    Next Lie?

  2. pnwtennis says:

    Mr. Bay,
    I applaud you and the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition for the work and fundraising all citizens did to help fund the trails.

    However, if you look at the at the P.C. Parks & Rec 2009 Improvement Program which provides information on funding and expenditures for a multitude of trails in Pierce County.

    Expenditures prior to 2009 and 2009 expenditures were:
    * Tacoma Rail Trail/Cross Park Link –
    Scoping: $50,000.00 with $50,000.00 more in 2009
    * Cushman Trail Phase 2 –
    Engineering: $841,100.00
    Construction: $1,754,600.00
    Construction in 2009: $2,561,800.00
    * 144th Street Trail
    Scoping: $74,000.00
    2009 Scoping: $10,100.00
    *Foothills Trail Cascade Junction to Carbonado
    Scoping: $507,800.00
    Engineering: $681,700.00
    Construction: $148,900.00
    2009 Engineering: $57,200.00

    Bkeyport1970 is correct. No County General Funds were used, only Parks and Rec funds, but in the grander scheme of things, isn’t it all just taxpayer dollars?

    In contrast, the parks department spent $739,200.00 prior to 2009 on Sprinker for engineering reports and $1,927,900.00 on more engineering reports in 2009. Obviously, those reports didn’t repair the roof.

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