A seldom-used trail is visible along the south side of Battersby Avenue. With federal funds, it will be home to a ribbon of asphalt.

A seldom-used trail is visible along the south side of Battersby Avenue. With federal funds, it will be home to a ribbon of asphalt.

Enumclaw moves forward with two trail projects

The financial tale is an interesting one, according to City Administrator Chris Searcy.

Enumclaw’s trail users will soon have another 1.4 miles of pavement for their walking, running or bicycling pleasure.

The creation of two more stretches of paved trail is officially in the works, following action earlier this month by members of the Enumclaw City Council.

Specifically, the council set in motion a process that will see pavement come to the south side of Battersby Avenue, from Garrett Street to Farman Street; the second trail to be developed runs north from Battersby to the city limits, just short of McHugh Avenue.

The good news for the city is the entire project will be funded with federal dollars. City staff will spend time on the project, but even that portion might be covered.

The financial tale is an interesting one, according to City Administrator Chris Searcy. It began years ago when Enumclaw was actively pursuing plans to build a Welcome Center and had secured funding for the project. After years of planning and preparation, the Welcome Center idea was scuttled.

But, the money remained. Under federal guidelines, Searcy said, there were allowances for “repurposing” the dollars. One of the allowable uses was a trail for nonmotorized use. The city requested the change of direction and the money was moved.

The action taken Aug. 13 by the City Council was to authorize a Local Agency Agreement with the Washington State Department of Transportation. The state DOT is charged with administering federal funds.

The initial phase of the project allows for a maximum of $155,000 to be spent on engineering. A second phase deals with property acquisition and a third phase addresses actual trail construction.

Due to the financial twists and turns of the federal money, the project timeline is shorter than would normally be expected, Searcy said. Money for the entire project, all phases, must be allocated by mid-September 2019.

The trail segment running north from Battersby Avenue will follow what is now a gravel path and was – during Enumclaw’s earlier days – home to well-used railroad tracks. It is identified as a continuation of the Foothills Trail that sits primarily in Pierce County but includes a small stretch in Enumclaw.

The paved Foothills Trail begins north of the White River and parallels state Route 410 into Enumclaw. The trail crosses the highway and consists of a wide sidewalk along Garrett Street. That wider-than-normal sidewalk crosses Griffin Avenue, continues north and turns west on Washington Avenue; at First Street there is an existing, paved trail that slices through industrial parcels between Washington and Battersby.

The second section to be paved, along Battersby Avenue, will be independent of – but accessed from – the Foothills Trail.

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