After four years of planning, Rainier will break ground on the Riverfront Trail in mid-October.
The trail, which will run along the Columbia River, has required several land easements and close collaboration with local landowners.
“It will create some connectivity and opportunities for people to recreate, ride bikes, walk,” Rainier City Administrator Scott Jorgensen said. “You’re capitalizing on that natural opportunity you have that comes with river frontage.”
The city started working on the easements about four years ago, Public Works Director Sue Lawrence said. However, the A Street safety project came up in the middle of the project and took up much of the city’s time and resources, she said.
Mayor Jerry Cole said at a Sept. 8 council meeting that the city has been “working diligently” to get the project rolling.
At the same meeting, the council approved a low bid of around $92,700 from LCD Excavating to build the first section of the trail between the post office and Fox Creek. The money was budgeted under special projects years ago, Lawrence said.
That “phase 1” section of the trail would be about 700 feet long and eight feet wide, Lawrence said. It would require large stone blocks on each side of the trail to help shore up the sandy embankment, she added.
Other sections might come later, but Lawrence said those would be completely separate design and construction pieces.
She said a design would be ready to share very soon, and that the city has until March to finish construction or the easement agreements will have to be redone. The land has already been surveyed, and Lawrence said the easement paperwork is in the works.
While construction was originally slated to begin in early October, Lawrence said the wildfires caused some delays with the contractor. She said the city is reviewing the contract and design with the contractor now, but the construction will be done by March 1.
Jorgensen said the trail would mirror what other local cities are doing, as both locals and tourists love having the change to walk along the river.
“We’re blessed here in Rainier to have the mighty Columbia River flowing here through town and also have creeks that run into it,” he said. “From a bigger picture standpoint, we can reap benefits for generations to come environmentally and recreationally.”
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