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Major Grant Supports Ash Creek Trail

INDEPENDENCE -- The state has awarded Independence a nearly $498,800 grant to pay for further construction of the Ash Creek Recreation Trail.

INDEPENDENCE -- The state has awarded Independence a nearly $498,800 grant to pay for further construction of the Ash Creek Recreation Trail.

The city was one of 50 municipalities to receive funds through the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department's Local Government Grant Program.

Every year, the agency assembles a committee of citizens and park professionals to review and rank a variety of project proposals from cities.

The items are funded in the order they appear on the list until the total amount of available resources are expended, said Chris Havel, OPRD spokesman.

The state handed out more than $9 million -- generated by the Oregon Lottery -- for projects in this budget cycle.

Independence was 29th on a list of 30 cities seeking large grants, Havel said.

Shawn Irvine, community development technicians, said the funds would got toward the second phase of the trail. At its western edge, it would loop around currently unused Wildfang Park.

It would then travel north of Ash Creek beside the city sewage lagoons, and end at Ash Street. Primary access points would be at the 11th Street extension off Monmouth Street and on 5th Street near Independence Elementary School.

The total cost for the 1-mile segment is roughly $1 million. As a requirement for the grant, the city must come up with at least $300,000 in matching funds. Officials have budgeted for at least $100,000 in urban renewal dollars toward that effort, and will seek additional grants.

Final design, engineering and security planning for the next stretch of the trail -- which will include three foot bridges -- will begin this fall, Irvine said. Construction could start next summer.

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