Waterfront trail head project moves forward

Construction of what’s being hailed as the centerpiece of Oak Harbor’s waterfront trail system may soon begin.

The Oak Harbor City Council selected a firm at its Sept. 7 meeting to build a parking lot and scenic view point on the west end of the trail on Scenic Heights Street. The city has been working to improve the trail network, which snakes along the waterfront for about three miles all the way to Maylor Point, for years but this project is expected to serve as an anchor for the entire system.

“This will be an excellent project, not only for the area but for the trailhead,” said City Councilman Danny Paggao, at a recent Public Works Standing Committee meeting.

The Scenic Heights Trailhead Project, which is identified in numerous city planning documents including the comprehensive plan, will see the construction of a five-car parking lot, a viewing area of the Freund Marsh wetland, and a congregation area fitted with pavers and benches.

It’s also a “green” or low impact development project. The parking lot and congregation area pavers will be built with pervious materials, which limits the impact of stormwater runoff, and a rain garden and landscaping will also be constructed on site.

The trailhead project went out for bid in August and of the five firms that responded, Oak Harbor-based C. Johnson Construction Inc.’s bid of $233,384 was the lowest. The city had estimated the project cost at $273,990.

According to City Engineer Eric Johnston, $154,000 of the tab is being paid for with a Federal Aid Transportation Enhancement grant, which was awarded through the Island Sub-Regional Transportation Organization. The balance, $79,384, will be paid for using city revenue generated from park impact fees.

Now that the bid has been approved, Johnston said work could begin on the project as soon as two weeks.

“Weather dependent, we’re looking to get this done by fall,” Johnston said.

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