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Council readies funicular papers

If all goes well, a state grant will help pay for the majority of a proposed funicular on Cascade Avenue in Langley.

On Monday, the City Council gave staff the green light to apply for a boating facilities grant administered through the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.

The total project could cost up to $800,000, though city officials hope to whittle the final tab down to about $600,000. The city has already secured $250,000 from the Island County Rural Economic Development Fund and hopes to pay for the rest of the project with this grant.

“I think it’s a real exciting project and is key to solving the parking problem at the marina,” said Jeff Arango, director of Community Planning.

The funicular, a passenger car that travels up and down a hill or mountainside on a track, will connect Cascade Avenue with the marina parking lot. The idea is to reduce expected parking congestion that will be created once the Port of South Whidbey completes its marina expansion project.

It will be particularly useful for people with boat trailers. Thanks to an agreement with the school district, they can unload their boats and then park at the middle school’s bus barn. The funicular is hoped to provide a safe and quick way back to the marina.

According to Recreation and Conservation Office officials, the application deadline is July 2. Projects will be evaluated and ranked this fall, but actual awards aren’t decided until after the state Legislature adopts its next budget in 2013.

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