The Spokane Valley City Council decided Tuesday to accept partial funding for the Appleway Trail that would run south of Sprague Avenue along the old Milwaukee Railroad right of way owned by Spokane County.
The county has given the city permission to use the vacant land to build a trail. The city hopes to eventually have a trail that runs from University Road to the east city limits. The city requested $2.2 million in grant funding from the Spokane Regional Transportation Council for the section from University to Evergreen Road. The council’s Transportation Technical Committee has suggested funding of $642,000, said Public Works Director Eric Guth.
Guth said he recommended accepting the partial funding and then finding another $340,000 to complete the trail between University and Pines roads. “There is a logical midpoint to this, which is Pines Road,” he said.
The city would have three years to complete the project, which is plenty of time to come up with matching funds from city accounts or find another grant, Guth said. The SRTC board is scheduled to make a final decision on grant awards today. Funding is available for the Appleway Trail because the Spokane Transit Authority reduced the amount of money it was requesting for various projects, Guth said.
Mayor Tom Towey asked if the city could accept the money and make a decision later on whether to attempt the full project. “We can decide later,” Guth said. “What we would be committing to is the halfway point.”
Coucilman Arne Woodard said he was dismayed that the council was being asked to make a snap decision. “I don’t like the very short timelines,” he said.
Woodard asked staff if money set aside for park capital projects could be used to help build the trail. City Manager Mike Jackson said the city is already looking at several park projects, including the expansion of Balfour Park. “There isn’t enough cash currently to complete our projects,” he said. “If you spent the money it would be at the expense of another project.”
Councilman Ben Wick said three years should be enough time to find more money for the trail. “Some funding can always be leveraged to get other funding,” he said.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to approve several comprehensive plan amendments. The changes include the rezoning of parcels scattered around the city. The council also voted unanimously to approve a $148,000 contract with MJ Hughes Construction to repair the southbound Sullivan Road bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. The cost is well below the city’s estimate of $286,000.