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Proposed connector trail along Liberty Bay to receive funding

POULSBO — A plan to connect walking trails at the head of Liberty Bay with trails along its eastern shore could move forward with the help of $250,000 in funding from the Federal Highway Administration.

The first phase of the Liberty Bay Waterfront Project, which will connect the trail system at American Legion Park to a trail that reaches just behind Liberty Bay Auto Center, is one of 25 projects in the region recommended for $19.9 million allocated to expand transportation choices.

The program requires 10 percent of Surface Transportation Program funds be used to "enhance the transportation experience," according to a press release from the Puget Sound Regional Council.

Recipients were chosen from a list of 88 proposals, and comments on the projects will be accepted through Oct. 28. At that time, the council's executive board will make it's final approval.

A replacement passenger-only foot ferry terminal at the Port of Kingston was also selected, and would receive $85,000.

When built, the Liberty Bay Waterfront Project will complete a 2,000 linear-foot trail segment. The project is a joint effort between the City of Poulsbo's parks and engineering departments.

"The project will provide continuous connection between Anderson Parkway, through the existing boardwalk ... to Fish Park," said city engineer Andrzej Kasiniak. "It will make connection between two different Poulsbos, Old Town and Viking Way."

Kasinak submitted the project for grant consideration this summer. He said the trail will likely be built upland, but on pilings similar to the boardwalk at Waterfront Park.

Phase 1 includes the development of construction plans, an engineering estimate and all required permits, including a National Environmental Policy Act permit and Shoreline permit.

The city won't seek funding for construction until roughly 2013, Kasiniak said.

A final cost for the project depends on a variety of factors, including what kind of surfacing is laid and potential right-of-ways the city may have to purchase, said Poulsbo Parks and Recreation Director Mary McCluskey said.

The trail is seen as another way to draw people to the downtown area.

"A trail can be very beneficial for the economy," McCluskey said.

Comments can be made in person at meetings at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, or 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at Puget Sound Regional Council, 1011 Western Avenue, Seattle. Email comments to tipcomment@psrc.org. More info: www.psrc.org.

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