Monroe proposes 7-mile link with Centennial Trail

MONROE — Monroe is gearing up to pitch expansion of the Centennial Trail across the Snohomish River floodplain.

The 30-mile trail now stretches largely unbroken from the Skagit County line to Snohomish on an abandoned railroad bed. Plans are in the works to extend it south to Woodinville. Monroe wants the wide, paved pathway to also head east from Snohomish to connect with the existing trails at Lake Tye Park.

Monroe Mayor Geoffrey Thomas wrote to Snohomish County in support of the project. He plans to present the letter to the City Council on Tuesday.

Thomas said the trail would provide a safe place for recreational activities that promote health, such as a running and cycling.

“It’d be a tremendous benefit for riders and trail users not just in the city of Monroe but throughout the region,” Monroe Parks and Recreation Director Mike Farrell said.

Farrell envisions Monroe as a future meeting point for the Centennial and Snoqualmie Valley trails.

“We could be, in a sense, a strategic trail head,” he said. “It’d be definitely a value and benefit to our community.”

Farrell said the cost to the city would remain low because there are already trails to connect to at the west end of town. The area between Snohomish and Monroe would be on the county’s dime.

Russ Bosanko, a manager with Snohomish County Parks and Recreation, said it would cost about $1 million a mile to connect to Monroe. The proposed extension would be about seven miles.

The county would also need to address at least two wetland spots along the route.

Bosanko said another project to extend the Centennial Trail from Snohomish to Woodinville likely will receive funding ahead of Monroe’s proposal.

He expects it would take at least four or five years before a connection to Monroe could be constructed assuming funding is available.

Leaders from the cities of Snohomish and Monroe met with the county parks department last month. The county plans to survey the land between the two cities by the end of the year.

“We’re all supportive of steps to develop that extension,” Farrell said.

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; anile@heraldnet.com.

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