County gives Clinton trail another chance

South Whidbey may get another shot at a trail between the Clinton ferry terminal and Ken’s Korner.

County commissioners Wednesday approved moving forward with preliminary engineering research on a long-planned, separated trail from Clinton to Langley Road. Public Works will use a $860,000 state Department of Transportation grant to complete this phase of the project.

There isn’t a design finalized yet, but the trail plan calls for a 10-feet wide, paved separated trail on the northeast side of State Highway 525. Estimated cost is $4.1 million.

Commissioners Helen Price Johnson and Jill Johnson expressed interest in looking into less expensive ways to complete the trail.

“I’m not convinced that’s the only path forward, so to speak,” Price Johnson said of the paved trail.

In 2018, former commissioner Rick Hannold and Johnson directed county Public Works Director Bill Oakes to decline federal funding for the trail.

At the recent meeting, Johnson said she still isn’t sure about the potential return on investment of the trail, but she supports using the grant for the preliminary research.

“I think that there needs to be some real acknowledgement about the fact that these trails that everybody likes are not inexpensive to create,” she said.

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