Riverfront, Centennial trails plan finds support

SNOHOMISH — Two rivers meet just south of town. Now, two trails along the rivers will be connected.

For about 10 years, the city has envisioned extending the Centennial Trail, which runs seven miles along the Pilchuck River from Lake Stevens and ends at the corner of Pine and Maple avenues, to the Riverfront Trail, which stretches about 1,200 feet between Cady and Kla Ha Ya parks along the Snohomish River, city officials said.

Connecting the trails would be good for the community, City Councilman Chris Lundvall said.

"It would bring people downtown, and it’s good for the economy of downtown," he said.

Finally, talk has turned into action.

The city estimated that extending the Centennial Trail about 3,350 feet south to the corner of Bowen Street and State Avenue would cost about $1.49 million. It has secured about $450,000 in federal money and is expecting to get more, said Ann Caley, a project manager for the city’s public works department.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., is trying to secure $200,000 for the project in a House transportation bill, said Abbey Blake, a spokeswoman for Larsen’s office. The House is expected to vote on the bill soon. The Senate has passed similar legislation.

The city will keep raising money for the trail project through the state as well, Caley said. Depending on the funding progress, the project is expected to be completed within four years.

Meanwhile, the city has raised $2.19 million to improve and extend Riverfront Trail, which was damaged by a major flood in 1995, Caley said. About 75 percent of the funding came from state and federal grants, and the rest from the city. The project will create no new taxes for residents.

The construction will start in about two months and likely will be finished in 2005, Caley said.

The trail will also be extended 500 feet west of Kla Ha Ya Park and north to meet the Centennial Trail in the future. The total length of the Riverfront Trail will be about 3,200 feet.

Lundvall, who moved to Snohomish in 1962, said Riverfront Trail has been sitting in a "junkyard" where garbage collects.

Upgrading the trail will enhance the scenery along the river, he said.

"Now we are turning our face to the river and bringing it back to the city," he said. "I think that’s very exciting."

The county started a $4.5 million project about two months ago to extend Centennial Trail nine miles north to Arlington Airport. The project has been going on schedule and is expected to be finished this fall.

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or ynohara@heraldnet.com.

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