Ilwaco will seek public input on trail end

<I>OBSERVER FILE PHOTO</I><BR>A crew from the Washington National Guard built a bridge over a wetland in Beards Hollow in 2003 to link the beach portion of Discovery Trail with its higher-elevation stretch over the hills to Ilwaco. The Guard later designed and constructed another major wooden structure above Ilwaco, but little else has happened since to complete Ilwaco's part of the trail. Now, with federal funds possibly coming, the Ilwaco City Council is deciding what to do next.

ILWACO - The Beard's Hollow Overlook Project and Discovery Trail Project were prime topics of discussion at the most recent Ilwaco City Council meeting.

While requests for funding have been sent to several sources and have gained support from politicians such as U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, a budget still remains undetermined for the Discovery Trail Project. Past project estimates predicted that trail paving could cost at least $100,000 to $200,000.

According to a recently published press release, federal money totaling $375,000 is included in the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008. If approved, the funding would permit the completion of the construction of the Discovery Trail, Phase I, between Seaview and Ilwaco.

Councilman Mike Cassinelli noted that while the city has taken measures to find funding from the federal government, the money is not guaranteed and that residents still need to write to their representatives and encourage them to support the cause.

Several individuals questioned where the Discovery Trail actually ends. Councilman Fred Marshall stated that the trail is supposed to end at the Port of Ilwaco, but the trail is currently a gravel path that ends at the intersection of Second and Main streets, where he recommends signage be placed to direct pedestrians toward the port and other attractions.

Others felt that the trail should end up elsewhere and Cassinelli stated that if tourists cannot find the state park by reading signs, then they certainly wouldn't be able to direct themselves from the trail signs either. He concluded by saying that council needs to make a final decision on the trail's route before they receive additional funding.

Council member Ron Willis suggested that the public decide where the trail ends and Mayor Hubbard advised that the city schedule a public hearing regarding the matter.

In staff reports, Ilwaco Fire Chief Tom Williams reported that the department received a free 1988 Pierce fire truck from Bangor, with help from the Department of Natural Resources and county commissioners Bud Cuffel and Jon Kaino. After a few repairs, Williams said the truck would be a good vehicle for the price they paid.

Willis expressed appreciation for Long Beach Police Chief Flint Wright and Cassinelli reported changes to the fire hall rebuild plans and praised the great fishing and the cooperative weather.

In his mayor's report, Mayor Doug Hubbard reported that the city will be interviewing for a new deputy clerk and will be performing water and sewer connection inventory in September. He also commended the local merchants that helped make the port's waterfront barbecue a success.

"It was a wonderful time with great food, great music and it was well attended," said Hubbard.

During public comment, Ilwaco resident Nellie Beasley informed the board that during the recent downtown construction procedures, a dump truck parked and crushed part of the sidewalk along Myrtle Street and that while the city sees it as her property, it is not her responsibility to fix it.

Resident and Ilwaco volunteer firefighter Ed Ahlers raised concern over whether the planned spaces in the fire hall replacement building will be adequate for the department's needs.

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