Coupeville Community Green project finally underway

Long-awaited parking improvements are underway in Coupeville.

Construction of a new, paved parking lot next to the Community Green began Monday as well as the installation of four public restrooms in an historic barn on-site.

“It’s so exciting,” said Mayor Molly Hughes. “It’s going to be so wonderful.”

Work is expected to finish on the lot by the end of June. The whole project, which includes the bathrooms, drainage improvements, landscaping, lighting and a path is planned to be completed by the end of July, Hughes said.

In the meantime, the Coupeville Farmers Market will go on weekly on Saturdays at the same time. Tents will be located at the far west end of the greenspace from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The municipal lot will be closed during most or all of construction, Hughes said.

The town opened parking on the green near the library for use seven days a week.

The new parking lot will have 91 spots, seven of which will be for handicapped parking and four will have infrastructure for future electric vehicle charging stations.

The north side of the lot will have a rain garden to capture and treat stormwater. Lighting will be installed that’s shorter and dimmer than normal streetlights but is meant to improve safety in the area at night, Hughes said.

The paved lot will include deciduous trees to add shade.

The trees also grow shorter and won’t block the view as significantly as the evergreen trees did, she said.

Near the parking lot, the historic Holbrook Barn will contain four new individual restrooms for the public. An asphalt walking path will surround the lot and connect to trails on Alexander and Wilkes streets.

The green will have 42 “overflow” parking spaces that will open up seasonally. To keep the area in good shape, Hughes said the town will regularly add sand, re-seed and do aeration — which improves drainage.

Plans for the Community Green were first drawn up in a town master plan around nine years ago. Hughes said it had been created with extensive community input.

“We took the same plan and just kind of dusted it off,” she said.

The town sought funding through Island County’s Rural Economic Development grant program in 2016.

The $600,000 request was initially denied by two county commissioners in 2017. The county awarded the town funding after another application that didn’t include the bathrooms.

Coupeville’s real estate excise tax funding is being used to fund the public restrooms. The total project cost is $697,000.

“I think it’s going to be a real gem in the center of town,” Hughes said of the project. “I think everybody will be really proud of it.”