Article published Aug 17, 2006
Lake Washington trail closer to reality

By Mike Archbold Journal Reporter

The long-talked-about Lake Washington waterfront trail between Gene Coulon Park and the Cedar River trail has taken another step toward reality.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, who toured the site Wednesday morning, has secured $1.2 million in a pending federal transportation bill for the $5 million trail. The bill has passed out of committee and needs congressional approval.

Called Sam Chastain Waterfront Trail for the late Renton parks director, the half-mile section will extend out over Lake Washington on a boardwalk in one area.

When completed, it will connect 52 miles of trails from Maple Valley to Bellevue and beyond to the Burke Gilman Trail around the north end of Lake Washington, according to Leslie Betlach, Renton’s parks director.

Alex Pietsch, administrator of the city’s Department of Economic Development, Neighborhoods and Strategic Planning, said the city has collected about $4 million for the project from a variety of city, state and federal sources.

The big push for the final $1 million will be in the upcoming state Legislative session, he said.

If all goes well with the funding, Pietsch said construction could start in 2007 and perhaps be completed the following year.

The section of trail will begin at Coulon Park and cross in front of the Southport Property. It will the pass over state land, cross in front of the Boeing 737 plant and end at the Cedar River Boat House.

Pietsch said the city has been working on the project for as long as anyone can remember. "It’s been a tough one to complete," he said. "We’ve had to deal with nine different state, federal and tribal agencies for permits."

He said if the city can secure funding from the Legislature, groundbreaking on the project could come sometime next year. The city will seek the money from the state capital budget.

Mike Archbold can be reached at or at 253-872-6647.