“The trail is the centerpiece of Ridgefield’s long-envisioned trail network built in segments over several years,” the congresswoman wrote. “I have been assured by project sponsors and local governments that the property owners and neighborhoods adjacent to the trail have been communicated with about this project and support it.”
The grant requires a 13.5 percent local match of $193,000, Kast said. He said that will likely come from city park impact fees.
Kast said the city is still working with grant administrators on a specific time line but anticipates that construction will begin in 2023.
“The Gee Creek Trail is the backbone of the city’s trail network and will also serve as a portion of the countywide Lewis and Clark Trail,” Kast said. “This is a very important segment of the Gee Creek Trail.”
Built in segments
The first portion of the trail opened in 2009. Other parts of the trail cost about $3 million to build.
Construction of the segment between Abrams Park and Heron Drive was completed in 2018, and the portion from Pioneer Street south to South 19th Place was finished by 2019. Vancouver-based homebuilder Pacific Lifestyle Homes constructed segments north and south of Royle Road over the past three years, and a portion from the Hillhurst neighborhood to the Osprey Point neighborhood is planned for construction this summer.
Ridgefield’s population nearly doubled in the last decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The wildlife refuge is a regional attraction, with roughly 160,000 annual visitors.
The Ridgefield City Council has set a goal to build one mile of trail per year. City officials have made a priority of creating multiple transportation options and connecting people to nature, Kast said.
In 2019, another project funded by the Federal Lands Access Program — also involving the city, wildlife refuge and Clark County — connected downtown to the wildlife refuge with a sidewalk and trail.