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Public gives input on proposed trail system

Council delays vote on slate of recommendations


The Electric City council got an earful of complaints about the city’s proposed trail system at its meeting last Tuesday night.

The complaints were a continuation of what the city has been hearing since the Pathway and Revitalization study began a few months ago.

There was standing room only as local residents lined up and signed up to speak on the proposed trail.

“We are not being told the truth” about the pathway, said one resident, Rhonda Erickson, who lives on Lakeview. “It’s been in the works for over a year.”

The Star reported on the proposal in February 2014. The city has held two public meetings for public input about the Pathway and Revitalization plan, with the final recommendations coming to the city a few weeks ago.

Resident after resident spoke on such concerns as privacy, crime, drugs, garbage, fire and other dangers, and wasting money on a pathway that winds its way through residential areas and infringes on resident views of the lake.

One person asked why at least one person who lives along the trail system wasn’t included as part of the local committee.

It was impossible for the council to take a look at the various recommendations of the community committee that had reviewed the proposals because of time, and even evident that many of the councilmembers had not studied the issue.

Councilmember Rich McGuire moved to reschedule the issue for next month’s meeting.

Coming out of the study, recommendations by the local group include:

- pursue an ice-age theme for the trail, and nature trails near Sunbanks Lake Resort and at Osborne Bay (unanimous recommendation);

- two ice-age mammoth-themed city parks, one behind the fire department building and the other near the arsenic treatment plant. The committee recommends a splash pad at the new park by the fire station, and that the basketball court at the treatment plant site take the highest priority (unanimous recommendation);

- lakeside parks, as displayed on a July 28 draft, including a shoreline park parallel to Sunny Drive and a peninsula park off Third Street. Half the members agreed, but the other half wanted the peninsula park only;

- a bicycle/pedestrian path from Sunbanks to North Dam along highway 155 (unanimous);

- sidewalks and crosswalks through the downtown area (unanimous);

- that the ice-age theme be used to connect all parks, trails, recreation and signage throughout the city;

- “a pedestrian path and Electric City sign to be located over Hwy 155” (unanimous);

- improvements to the causeway to make it possible for a trail to be placed there;

– fishing piers should be a priority for the North Dam Park area;

– management at Coulee Playland should have a role in the planning of any trail directly in front of the resort.

The overall recommendation is to start with the two parks first, then sidewalks and crosswalks in the downtown area second. The pathway or trail system would be last.

Now the council must come up with some way of addressing the concerns of those who live along the proposed trail.

The study, done by the Washington State University Rural Communities Design Initiative team, made up of two from the teaching staff and three students, was delivered to the city earlier this month. A visual display of the plan is posted at city hall. The public is invited to look at it and ask questions.

Members of the local committee who voted on the plan were Clark Perman, Jeff Piturachsatit, Cynthia Crowley, Brad Parrish and Lonna Bussert. Parrish and Bussert are council members.

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