The Eatonville Town Council approved a resolution to pursue the development of a bicycle park at its May 8 meeting. The resolution declared the council’s support for the development and will allow the town to appropriate funds for its construction.
“One of the struggles that I think the town is running into, and the groups that are trying to help … one of the biggest obstacles that they seem to be facing is like with any capital group project — this project isn’t specifically called out in the existing Parks and Trails Plan,” Councilmember Bill Dunn said.
Dunn emphasized the formality of adding the bicycle park project into the town’s Parks and Trails Plan. He questioned whether the council could simply add the project into the plan at a future meeting, or if public meetings must be held for public comment, which he hopes to address at a future meeting.
“I think that hopefully, when we get the draft Capital Improvement Plan, we’ll be able to get the Parks and Trails Plan up and running,” Dunn said.
He described how he spoke with the Municipal Research and Services Center about a year ago and learned how the bicycle park project is a physical and mental health and wellness project following the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dunn said Eatonville is special in that youth who are not of driving age don’t have access to travel to neighboring areas, such as Yelm and Grant.
“They’re stuck in Eatonville, and because of that, I think that this is an excellent opportunity with some funds that the town has found itself in possession of, to really build a project and provide a unique attraction for the area that benefits the kids— a group that’s been left out of all of these improvements,” Dunn said.
Councilmember Peter Paul agreed with Dunn, adding that including a bicycle park into the town’s Parks and Trails Plan would act as a way to bring business into the town, by utilizing Eatonville’s trails and outdoor recreation opportunities, Paul said visitors will also utilize facilities, restaurants and gas stations, making it an overall positive idea.
Based on the meeting, the council plans to allocate $100,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act Fund, which provided federal dollars to support the economic recovery from the pandemic. The council’s next steps include getting the project penned into the Capital Improvement Plan, and from there, beginning the project’s design.