Trillium grants to move forward

The Island County commissioners will move forward with grant applications to fund additional parking lots and trail maintenance at Trillium Community Forest.

The county will partner with Whidbey Camano Land Trust to apply for $370,000 through the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office, Local Parks Grant Program.

Commissioner Jill Johnson said she was concerned that the county would end up having to spend extra money to maintain the areas. Johnson voted in favor of the grant proposal on the condition that it would not come back to the county for maintenance.

The commissioners opted out last week on an opportunity to apply for similar grants to assist in acquiring beach access in Glendale. Both Johnson and Commissioner Kelly Emerson said that the county already struggles to maintain their existing parks and beaches and it would be irresponsible to take on more.

Public Works Director Bill Oakes said Wednesday, March 19 that the land trust was slated to provide maintenance to the upgraded Trillium Forest areas if the grants are awarded.

“What happens if the Whidbey Camano Land Trust goes away?” Johnson said. Johnson said she’d like to make sure that a non-county maintenance plan is in place.

Additionally, Johnson requested that staff compile a list of these partnership areas with the land trust to see what, if anything, they are costing the county in maintenance.

Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, who alone supported the Glendale project, said there are two sides to consider when investing in property for public use.

“If you look at cost, you have to look at the benefit,” Price Johnson said.

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