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Trillium Forest gets ADA funding

Island County has received unexpected funding for Trillium Community Forest for Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility.

“It’s unexpected good news,” Public Works Director Bill Oakes said.

The county, in partnership with the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, applied for the funds in 2012 but had all but lost hope that any funding would trickle down to the project.

At the two-year mark, as other projects state-wide fall through or are completed, money is returned to the state and reallocated to other projects.

As a result, the county has been allotted $89,925 that will be used to create ADA accessible parking and ADA accessible trails.

“This is a bonus,” Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson said.

“This will increase the access for folks who have mobility concerns,” she added. “Trillium Forest is well loved and supported by South and Central Whidbey. And now even more people will be able to use it.”

Oakes said the county still needs to design the project and it will likely be a couple years out before it is completed.

Island County commissioners voted in March to move forward with additional grant applications earmarked for Trillium totaling $370,000. These will now be amended before being submitted because of the unexpected funding, according to Pat Powell, executive director of the Whidbey Camano Land Trust.

The parking lot is also being eyed for expansion to accommodate horse trailers and school buses.

“I think (these improvements) are very important,” Powell said. “The equestrians are very excited and right now we can’t get buses with school children in there.”

The ADA improvements will also give accessibility to the island’s disabled and aging residents so they, too, can have a “natural experience,” Powell said.

 

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