Kennewick Parks and Recreation has scrapped plans to build a pedestrian and bike trail spanning Elliot Lake, citing inadequate parking for trail users. Public Works engineers and designers await a State Environmental Policy Act evaluation before moving forward with an access road on the south side of the lake.
In a statement to be mailed to area residents next week, Emily Estes-Cross, parks and recreation director, states, “While the intent of the proposed recreation path was to enhance trail connectivity as outlined in the City of Kennewick Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan, parking to accommodate users outside of the neighborhood proved too limited.”
The proposed trail was a joint project of the parks and recreation and public works departments. Estimated to span across about one-third mile, the trail would have connected east 45th Avenue to Eastlake Drive with an eight to 10-foot-wide paved pathway meandering across the ravine on the south side of Elliot Lake. Engineers were eyeing a city-owned vacant lot at the end of East 45th Avenue as a potential parking lot for trail users.
During an open house November 8 at Cascade Elementary school, city representatives answered questions from several residents who expressed concerns about parking, police and fire protection, and other potential issues that might arise as a result of opening the canyon to public access.
Heath Mellotte, design services manager, says Public Works continues to plan for construction of an access road to a sewer main at the bottom of the ravine.
“That’s the whole driver of the project,” Mellotte said. “The sewer department hasn’t had access since the line was built and (the sewer line) is getting a lot of infiltration. There’s groundwater in that running stream that will get into the sewer.”
The sewer access would be a 10-foot-wide gravel road which city vehicles would enter from the southern end of Eastlake Drive. Mellotte says a homeowner has agreed to an easement to allow trucks to access the road.
Pending final approval, Mellotte says he anticipates work to begin on the access road in late spring or early summer.