By Larry Leveen, ForeverGreen Trails.
ForeverGreen Trails, a nonprofit organization, is pleased to announce an online fund drive in support of the City of Edgewood’s Interurban Trail.“Edgewood has received a $3 million preliminary grant award from Washington State for their project. However, it is contingent upon providing local match funds, including donations from the community,” says Larry Leveen, director of the organization that helped Edgewood win this grant.
The project in question will fill a gap in the east-west portion of the Interurban Trail within Edgewood, between the existing trailhead at 114thAvenue East, through Jovita Canyon, to West Valley Highway, where it will meet a newer section of the trail that goes under SR 167 and through the City of Pacific.
“Edgewood lies atop a plateau, and there are few ways to access it from the valley to the east,” according to Jeremy Metzler, Public Works Director for the city. “Because of this, the Puget Sound Electric Railway that connected Tacoma and Seattle in the early 1900s ran through the canyon where Jovita Boulevard is now located. This corridor is also the only suitable route to connect with the existing segments of the Interurban Trail that leads to Milton to the west and to Pacific and Sumner to the east. Much of the trail is built along this historic railroad alignment.”
“When completed, this project will be part of an awesome 18-mile trail loop within Pierce and King counties,” Leveen pointed out. “It will also connect Tacoma to Seattle with a route comprised almost exclusively of trails,” he added.
The Interurban Trail has already been developed from the City of Tukwila south through the City of Pacific. There it meets a portion of the trail that will connect east to Sumner via their upcoming White River Bridge project on Stewart Road, and west through Edgewood, Milton, and Fife. From there, it will connect to the Tacoma to Puyallup Trail, a regional project under WSDOT’s jurisdiction, helping to provide regional trail connectivity that has been long envisioned by trail advocates across Pierce County.
The gap within Edgewood is one of the few remaining in the Interurban Trail corridor, partially because of the challenging terrain which increases development costs. “Grants are crucial for infrastructure projects like these,” said Metzler. “That’s where ForeverGreen Trails comes in. Their technical and funding support not only helped win the grant award but is helping us fulfill our local match requirements to leverage millions of dollars, making it possible for our small community to complete its portion of the trail.”
The community can learn more about the project and fund drive online by visiting www.forevergreentrails.org. “Any donation amount is helpful,” Leveen said, “and we have options for those who prefer to use a check instead. Leveraging a $3 million grant with just $10,000 of donated funds is a huge return on investment, and one that will pay dividends for generations of Pierce County residents and visitors in terms of safe and inviting active mobility and recreation for all ages, abilities, and income levels,” he added.
About ForeverGreen Trails
ForeverGreen Trails is a 501(c)3 nonprofit membership organization based in Tacoma, WA, that serves all of Pierce County, WA. Created in 2000 by a group of community stakeholders, the organization supports a system of trails throughout our region via education, advocacy, promotion, collaboration, and stewardship.