Island City to apply for Greenway grant

By Dick Mason, The Observer November 20, 2013 10:05 am

Greenway project: This map shows the proposed route of the Grande Ronde River Greenway Project from Riverside Park in  La Grande to the Highway 82 bridge in Island City. The City of Island City is preparing to send an application for a ConnectOregon V grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation to cover its expense of the project.
Greenway project: This map shows the proposed route of the Grande Ronde River Greenway Project from Riverside Park in La Grande to the Highway 82 bridge in Island City. The City of Island City is preparing to send an application for a ConnectOregon V grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation to cover its expense of the project.

Project will run for two miles along Grande Ronde River 

Riding a bike or walking between La Grande and Island City may someday be almost as easy and pleasant as a stroll at Riverside Park.

Several years from now, local residents will likely have the opportunity to travel on foot or bicycle from La Grande through Island City along the Grande Ronde River on a two-mile, eight-foot-wide asphalt trail. The trail will be off limits to motorized vehicles and meet federal handicapped accessibility standards. The pathway is being installed as part of the Grande Ronde River Greenway project. The quarter-mile La Grande portion of the pathway was completed in 2012, and efforts are now under way to obtain the funding needed for a 1-1/4 mile portion of the Greenway trail in Island City. The route will ultimately run from Riverside Park to the Highway 82 bridge in Island City.

“It will give people, who ride bikes and walk, easy access between Island City and La Grande,” Union County Planning Director Hanley Jenkins said.

Jenkins is serving as Union County’s representative for the Grande Ronde River Greenway Project. 

The La Grande portion of the Greenway runs from Riverside Park east for a quarter-mile to a small parking lot in the May Lane area created as part of the project. This portion of the Greenway, which includes a bridge at Riverside Park, cost $900,000. A grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Flex Fund covered this expense. The next portion of the Greenway will be a 1-1/4-mile stretch running from the May Lane parking lot to a pond in Island City about a quarter-mile north of Walmart.

The City of Island City is preparing to send an application for a ConnectOregon V grant from ODOT to cover the expense of this portion of the Greenway project. The amount needed is now being determined by Anderson Perry and Associates, which is helping prepare Island City’s grant application, Jenkins said. 

Dale De Long, the mayor of Island City, is excited about the project. 

“We want to develop the area so we can give it back to the people to enjoy,” De Long said.

The site of the pond, north of Walmart, may be developed into a park by Island City to complement the Greenway project, De Long said.

Island City will apply for the ConnectOregon V grant by Monday. 

Once ODOT receives the application from Island City it will have a year to decide if the funding request will be granted to Island City. 

Even if ConnectOregon V funding is provided to Island City, the GRR Greenway will not be completed anytime soon because of the extensive engineering and analysis work that needs to be done.

“We are easily two to three years out before construction will begin,’’ Jenkins said.