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Appleway trail project to link to Liberty Lake system

Work is expected to start next month on a major stretch of Spokane Valley’s planned Appleway Trail.

City officials said they hope to have a paved and landscaped pathway along the old Milwaukee Railroad corridor between University and Pines roads just south of Sprague Avenue open by the end of the year. The plan is to eventually extend the recreational trail to the eastern city limits, where it will meet up with Liberty Lake’s municipal trail system.

To keep costs down, the city will take a minimalist approach to landscaping and amenities but could add more later if additional money becomes available, said Steve Worley, the city’s capital projects engineer. The trail will feature a plaza-style gathering place at the trail head just east of University Road.

“The idea is to make it a … place where people can relax and enjoy sitting,” Worley said of the plaza. Councilman Chuck Hafner said he’d like to see a section of the plaza dedicated to commemorating the Valley’s history.

Estimated cost of the mile-long portion, which will include benches, lighting, landscape irrigation and drinking fountains, is $1.3 million. The city has received a grant for nearly $643,000 and learned last week that it will receive $1 million in 2017 from the Spokane Regional Transportation Council for the overall suburban trail project. The next phase would extend the trail to Evergreen Road.

Bids for grading and site preparation will be opened Aug. 8, Worley said. Trail construction and landscaping will be handled separately so site work can begin while city officials finish landscaping and other design details.

The trail is part of the Valley’s plans to develop a network of paved suburban pathways that enable bicyclists, rollerbladers and pedestrians to avoid competing with automobiles while getting throughout the city.