Trail city council gave a unanimous thumbs up for staff to apply for funds to help upgrade the Groutage Avenue neighbourhood.
In a Dec. 20 Governance and Operations Committee meeting, council unanimously passed a resolution to support the city’s grant application to Columbia Basin Trust (Trust) for a Climate Resiliency Grant worth up to $500,000.
“We wanted to get it in front of council, first because it’s really good news,” Chief Administrative Officer Colin McClure noted about the application that is due by Jan. 10.
After an initial meeting with Trail Parks and Recreation Director Trisha Davison and grounds superintendent David Moorhead, the Trust recently informed the city that they were eligible to proceed with the application.
“I am sensing that council would love to be part of seeing that area that’s not completed completed, so we have a nice flow all the way from downtown from the Esplanade to the walking bridge,” said McClure.
The application is a reboot of a previous project directed toward improvements and upgrades for Groutage Avenue area, both above and below ground.
In 2019, the city applied to and received $250,000 in funding from the Trust for the Groutage Avenue Esplanade Development project through their Community Outdoor Revitalization grant program. The original plan entailed the installation of a walkway and amenity area between the south end of the Esplanade and the west Columbia River Skywalk plaza, and the addition of a paved parking area at the south end of Groutage Avenue.
It also required replacing 80-to-100-year-old water, sanitary and storm sewer infrastructure.
Council endorsed the project at the time, and was set to finalize the contract, its design and development when the impact of COVID-19 shelved the project due to financial uncertainty.
Funds intended for the project were also reallocated to replace Butler Park light poles and netting after a severe storm took down several trees in Jan. 2021, causing substantial damage.
In 2022, an active transportation network planning process and survey highlighted the Groutage neighbourhood as an area of priority.
Coun. Thea Hanson asked how much it would cost taxpayers over and above the Trust funds.
According to Davison’s staff report, in 2019, tender submissions for the Groutage Avenue project came in at approximately $1.2M for both the above and below ground works. Based on inflationary rates seen on other projects and in consultation with the project management firm who assisted on the original project, the report recommended a 50 per cent increase in the 2023 budget.
The total cost of the Groutage project is now estimated at $1.75M, $550,000 more than the original, which includes a 15 per cent contingency fund.
McClure said he estimated it would cost the city about $1.25M, mainly on water and sewer utility work that will be part of the 2023 utility capital budget.
Mayor Colleen Jones, wondered if the 15 per cent contingency figured in to the total was too high.
“One of the challenges with any of this work is the unknown,” said McClure. “As soon as you rip something up, it’s not ‘Oh hey this is perfect.’ It’s more like, ‘where did this pipe come from or where does this link to? And it’s usually inevitable.”
Coun. Paul Butler inquired if the timeline for 2023 completion could be met.
McClure confirmed that the project was shovel ready and set to break ground.
“This potential grant would assist on completing the ‘missing link’ of our active transportation system, upgrade utility infrastructure as well as help beautify the Groutage Avenue area,” McClure added.
Staff will also pursue other grant opportunities that could help offset costs for the project.