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Liberty Bay Trail off on right foot

POULSBO — Even City Engineer John Stephenson had to chuckle.

“This is very exciting. Get on with it,” the citizen comment about the Liberty Bay Waterfront Trail read. But it wasn’t the tone that made the engineer smile.

It was the date: June 2000.

The project has been put on hold for a while but that pattern could end later this year, Stephenson said.

The city received a $260,000 grant from the National Marine Fisheries Service in spring 2000 and the city and the county will also have pony up $20,000 apiece in local match funding to make the long-awaited dream come true.

“We’ve got our federal funding,” he explained of the trail. “But this has been bouncing around for about two years.”

The reason, according to Stephenson, was an extensive environmental permitting process. Special permits were required by state and federal agencies because the proposed improvement is located within 100 feet of the shoreline, pushing the project down the city’s “to do” list. After numerous delays though, the footway is finally getting the green light.

When it is completed, the waterfront trail will provide safer access from Poulsbo to the scenic shores at Lemolo. The path will fill in missing sections of paved sidewalk on the eastside of Fjord Drive from Hostmark to 6th Avenue and an enhanced shoulder from there along Lemolo Shore Drive to its intersection with Johnson Road.

Poulsbo hopes to award a bid for the proposal this August with the possibility of starting work on the trail by September.

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