Island County, Oak Harbor collaborate on walking trail

The city and county are collaborating on constructing a walking trail along Highway 20.

The city of Oak Harbor and Island County are collaborating on constructing a walking trail at the northern city limits along Highway 20 from Hoffman Road to 16th Avenue.

Cac Kamak, principal planner for the city, said in an email to the News-Times that building a trail will “strengthen the connection between regional and local trails, provide a major entryway into the city, and provide additional options for connectivity to downtown and the marina.” The project has been in the city’s capital improvement plan since 2020.

The trail will connect the park and ride lot on Hoffman Road, the aircraft display and the Oak Harbor city limits. There are no dedicated pedestrian or bike trails in that area.

Currently, Hoffman Road is home to a homeless camp consisting of many cars and trailers parked on the shoulder of the street. It is unclear if the camp will affect the construction of the trail.

“As the project develops, city staff or consultants will provide notifications and address requirements to complete construction of the trail,” Development Services Director David Kuhl said in an email.

Kamak said the city and county collaborate on projects because it strengthens inter-agency relationships and there is a better chance of receiving grant money for joint projects.

Oak Harbor and Island County partnered in submitting a grant application to the Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization to build the trail. The project is receiving grant money for preliminary engineering and design.

The grant funding requires a 13.5% local match which will be split equally between the city and county. The grant money awarded for this project was $1,010,000. The city’s portion of the match is $68,175.

City Council approved this agreement in June 2020 but the project schedule was delayed due to COVID-19 related issues. The agreement was updated and approved on the consent agenda at an April 24 meeting. The trail is planned to be completed in December 2025.

Kamak said the construction start date has yet to be determined.

“We are currently working on the scope for design and engineering,” he wrote. “This means that in the design phase, we determine cost estimates. We will utilize the estimates to apply for future grant funding and learn more about construction timelines after receiving grant funding and selecting contractors.”

Since the county is the lead on the project, construction will be managed by county staff.