In a unanimous vote Monday, June 10, the Roy City Council gave their approval to apply for a grant that would cover planning expenses for the Pierce County portion of the Yelm Prairie Line Trail, a project to connect Yelm and Roy with 4.8 miles of trail.
Larry Leveen, project and communications coordinator with ForEvergreen Trails, a Pierce County nonprofit that advocates for trails, addressed the council and put forth a proclamation to the council stating their support and intent to move forward with finding project funding.
“Having the trail come to downtown will provide an anchor point, I think, toward the community. Your own comprehensive plan calls for a civic gathering area in the downtown and having a trailhead for the trail there is really complimentary for a park-oriented space,” he said.
He said the trail would also bring, among other things, economic stimulation to the area and give Roy area residents access to 57 miles of Thurston County trails through the Line Trail.
Leveen said the city would not have to pay a single penny if the it gets approved for a $45,000 grant from the Puget Sound Regional Council, which would cover the planning expenses for the project.
The Tacoma Washington Bike Club and Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition have raised $7,023 in matching funds for the city to apply for the Regional Council grant. Leveen said it’s important for the city to have partners because it legitimizes and establishes the intent of the project.
“One of our goals was to have it be a zero cost to Roy because we have an appreciation of how tight resources are,” he said. “It’s a great project and we just wanted to help Roy be able to partner in the trail.”
Back in 1998, the City of Yelm acquired the 4.8 miles of rail right-of-way from Burlington Northern and has since been actively pursuing conversion of the rail into a public trail, according to the Roy proclamation.
The new Yelm Prairie Line Trail would begin at the eastern end of the Yelm-Tenino Trail, go over the Centralia Canal and Nisqually River and end at a trailhead located downtown. About one-third of a mile of the Yelm trail is currently paved, Leveen said.
Jane Moore, Executive Director of ForEvergreen Trails, said their nonprofit plans on assisting the City of Roy further with applying for construction grants.