Trillium grants going forward, despite concerns

Island County commissioners are moving forward with grant applications to fund additional parking lots and trail maintenance at Trillium Community Forest.

The county is partnering with Whidbey Camano Land Trust to apply for $370,000 through the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office, Local Parks Grant Program.

Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson said she was concerned that the county would end up having to spend extra money to maintain the areas.

Johnson voted in favor of the grant proposal on the condition that the Land Trust will not come back to the county for maintenance.

The commissioners opted out last week on an opportunity to apply for similar grants to assist in acquiring a beach access point in Glendale.

Johnson and Commissioner Kelly Emerson said that the county already struggles to maintain its existing parks and beaches, and that they believe it would be irresponsible to take on more.

Island County Public Works Director Bill Oakes said Wednesday that the Land Trust is slated to provide maintenance to the upgraded Trillium Forest areas, if the grants are awarded.

“What happens if the Whidbey Camano Land Trust goes away?” Johnson said.

Johnson said she wants to make sure that a non-county maintenance plan is in place, just in case.

Additionally, Johnson requested that county staff compile a list of these partnership areas with the Land Trust to see what, if anything, it is costing the county in maintenance.

Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, who alone supported the Glendale project, said that there are two sides to consider when investing in property for public use.

“If you look at cost, you have to look at the benefit,” Price Johnson said.


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