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Washington Voices

Plan to pave part of Ben Burr Trail draws opposition

The East Central Neighborhood Council had a lot of questions for city senior design engineer Dan Buller when he presented the city’s plan for a $1.7 million renovation of the Ben Burr Trail stretching from East Hills Court to Liberty Park, and connecting it to the Centennial Trail near the Riverpoint Campus.

East Central neighbors did not like the city’s proposal to have the Ben Burr Trail paved and widened south of Liberty Park – they want to preserve that part of the trail as a gravel path.

At the meeting, Buller told neighbors the city has federal transportation grants to pay for the project. Because those grants are meant to support infrastructure, lessen congestion and move traffic – they require paving.

It’s not clear if changing the project and not paving part of the trail would require the city to reapply for federal funding.

After the October meeting, Buller said the city decided to present its Ben Burr Trail project to surrounding neighborhood councils before making a decision.

Buller talked to the Southgate Neighborhood Council Wednesday evening and has three additional meetings lined up.

Buller wrote in an email that city policy makers will evaluate the feedback from these meetings before making a decision on the project.

To see maps and computer renditions of what the renovated Ben Burr Trail could look like and to leave feedback for the city, visit blog/2013/10/25/ input-sought-on-ben- burr-trail-improvements.