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Trail money safe, Puyallup official says

Post by Melissa Santos / The Olympian on Feb. 15, 2009 at 7:31 am with No Comments »
February 15, 2009 7:31 am

I’ve been blogging and writing a bit about the $306,000 in grant money from the state Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) that Puyallup is supposed to use to extend its Riverwalk Trail.

The city had a deadline of Feb. 1 to have a purchase agreement in place for the land it needs to build the trail extension, or else the RCO could rescind the grant money.

City Manager Gary McLean told me this past week that he’s been assured by RCO officials that the money should be safe, even though the city didn’t meet the deadline.

To review: The five acres the city needs for the trail is part of a roughly 365 acre area the city has been trying to annex since 2004.

The 1.35-mile connection will link Puyallup’s Riverwalk Trail to the Pierce County Foothills Trail.

Some of the landowners want the city to finalize a pre-annexation zoning plan for the land before they sell the portion that would be used for the trail.

Yet, the city council again delayed finalizing that zoning plan Tuesday night. The plan is controversial because it may designate between 120 and 160 acres of the land as open space that can’t be commercially developed.

Even with Tuesday’s delay, McLean said the trail project will go forward, and the RCO grant money shouldn’t be in jeopardy. The city has asked the office for more time to complete a purchase agreement with the land owners.

“It’s an important regional project,” McLean said. “People want to see it happen.”

But he added that even if the office does rescind the grant, the city has the means to build the trail connection on its own. City officials estimate the project will cost $1.4 million.

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