News Archive

TIGER Grant Program – and Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail – At Risk

For the last two years, the Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail and the City of Ponderay have been preparing to apply for a federal TIGER grant to help fund a much-needed underpass for the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail. Without an underpass under the railroad tracks, citizens of Ponderay and Kootenai have no access from their communities to the lakeshore and the trail. As a result, people typically trespass across the busy Montana Rail Link/ BNSF tracks to get to the lake from Ponderay or Kootenai.

Railroad underpasses are extremely expensive, and a federal grant is one of the only ways that Ponderay can afford to build one. The Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail and Idaho DEQ have spent thousands of dollars on studies to help support this grant application, while the city of Ponderay has purchased property in the vicinity of the proposed underpass. We are nearly ready to apply.

However, the Trump Administration’s recent budget proposal calls for eliminating the popular TIGER grant program, essentially killing our project if Trump’s budget is adopted.

Please help us convince Congress to continue to fund TIGER.

BACKGROUND on TIGER:

The very popular TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) competitive grant program has funded more than 420 multi-modal infrastructure projects across the country – including all 50 states, both in rural and urban areas since 2009. The program spent more than $5 billion and leveraged billions of dollars to accelerate key projects that drive local, regional and state economic development. These projects aren’t eligible for funding under traditional federal highway or state funding programs.

The Trump administration has suggested that local communities turn to other programs to fund their projects, but those programs are not designed to meet the same needs as TIGER, which funds multi-modal projects, including trails. Projects that have been funded through the rural TIGER program in our region include a $10 million grant to Kalispell, MT, to relocate railroad tracks from downtown and replace them with a linear park and trail. In 2013, Missoula County landed a $4.5 million TIGER grant to build the Missoula to Lolo bike path. In Idaho, TIGER has funded complete streets in American Falls and Hailey, a transit center in Moscow and U.S. Highway 95 improvements.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

The budget proposal now goes to Congress and so we can still save TIGER.

Comment onlineTell Congress to fund TIGER.

Write a letter to our Congressional Delegation. If you only want to send one letter, send it to Sens. Jim Risch or Mike Crapo. Here are their addresses:

  • Mike Crapo – 610 Hubbard St., Ste. 209 Coeur d’Alene, ID, 83814
  • Jim Risch – 610 Hubbard St., Ste. 213, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814
  • Raul Labrador – 1250 Ironwood Dr., #241, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814

Or you can send an email  by going to the Senator’s website or using the Rails to Trails Conservancy’s online Take Action. 

TALKING POINTS:

Here are a few points to consider including in your letter/email:

  • First and foremost, ask them to fund TIGER. TIGER is an important transportation infrastructure funding source for local communities;
  • TIGER is very competitive with each project competing on its merits. As a result, the monies are spent very efficiently;
  • TIGER encourages local investment and has brought 3.5 other dollars to the table for every federal dollar awarded;
  • TIGER supports locally driven economic development opportunities. This is the kind of infrastructure program that improves the local economy and is sustainable over time;
  • There are virtually no other federal funding programs to fill the void for TIGER;
  • The TIGER program has provisions for rural areas, so communities in Idaho don’t have to compete with large urban areas for funding, but with other rural areas;
  • Mention the projects in Idaho that have been funded through TIGER;
  • Talk about the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail and the need for an underpass to allow safe access to Lake Pend Oreille. Eliminating TIGER will likely put a halt to plans to one day provide access from Ponderay and Kootenai to the lake and the trail.

Master Trail Plan Finalized

After about a year of working with hired consultants, the Master Trail Plan for the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail has been finalized.

Check it out here!

This plan will help guide future improvements to the trail that could include interpretive kiosks that would help tell the cultural, historic and ecological stories about the trail, as well new amenities on the trail, signage and expansions to the trail. These plans also help determine the costs for any improvements and help raise funds for those improvements. Thanks to consultants Jen Zung and Randy Blough at Harmony Engineering and Design for all their hard work and thanks to all the individuals that gave their input.

 

Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail Update, Winter/Spring 2015

Now that Phase 1 (the purchase of the Hall waterfront property) is complete, people keep asking us – what’s next? Does this mean the gate is coming down at the end of the trail?
The answer to the second question is, not yet.

The Hall family property stopped short of the gate. Beyond the gate is private property and Black Rock, which is also private and heavily contaminated with heavy metals. The fact that the property beyond the gate is private, and that Black Rock is officially a Brownfield site that needs remediation, means that trail users need to turn around at the gate.

But here’s a few things that are happening now to help determine the future of the trail:

  • Master Trail and Interpretive Plan: We were fortunate to secure funding to hire a consultant to put together a Master Trail Plan and an Interpretive Plan for the trail. These plans will help guide any future improvements to the trail, including signage, amenities and how to tell our natural and cultural history stories along this linear outdoor classroom. The plans will also help raise funds for those improvements. The planning began in the fall of 2014, and this spring we’ll see the initial proposed designs and plans from Harmony Engineering and Design and interpretive planner, Jane Rohling. Our Ales and Trails event, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, at Laughing Dog Brewery, will give folks an opportunity to weigh in on the designs for the trail.
  • Brownfields cleanup: The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is working with the city of Ponderay and the Black Rock property owner to enroll contaminated properties in the state’s voluntary cleanup program. Once the properties are enrolled in the program, cleanup alternatives will be determined and funding secured to remove the contaminated materials from the site, or to safely contain those materials in an onsite repository.ponderay greenway and pathway plan
  • Lakeside Neighborhood Plan: The city of Ponderay secured funds to hire StreetPlans, a consulting firm, to come up with a “subarea” plan for the lakeshore and upland neighborhood in the vicinity of a possible underpass, or crossings, that would allow access from Ponderay to the lake and the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail. The plans are conceptual in nature, but will guide a specific zoning code that allows for a certain type of development in that area. City Planner Erik Brubaker is trying to develop a plan that would allow for a gradual, organic development to occur, with multiple property owners, over time that would blend with the city’s existing neighborhoods.
  • Underpass planning: We are working with the City of Ponderay, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the Trust for Public Land and URS/AECOM, an international engineering firm, to get a technical feasibility study conducted for two potential underpass/overpass locations for the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail. It is our hope that this feasibility study will help secure the support of the railroad and future funding for an underpass.

So, as you can see, while it may seem to be a quiet time for the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail, much is happening to eventually connect this trail to Ponderay and to enhance the experience of users of the trail. We will continue to need the financial support of the community to keep these efforts moving forward.

Our primary fundraiser is the annual Bay Trail Fun Run which takes place on June 7 this year.

Please consider either participating as a sponsor, a runner or a volunteer!

You can also give your input by completing this quick and easy survey! It’s actually very interesting with lots of wonderful archival photos and new design illustrations. Give us a hand and complete the survey before May 1!

Community Celebrates Trail’s Creation

Local elected officials and supporters marked the official opening of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail with a dedication ceremony. The afternoon events included short speeches by elected officials, the unveiling of the “Cairn of Thanks” (a stacked rock monument honoring supporters of the trail) and a toast to the trail. The City of Ponderay’s final land purchase in the trail corridor brought the first phase of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail project to a  successful close and gives the public access to 1.5 miles of waterfront trail. Read more…

Weigh-in on trails and open space in Bonner County

We know you are a Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail supporter. Now tell us what you think about trails, parks and open space in all of Bonner County by completing this survey.

Your feedback will support collaborative efforts by the Trust for Public Land (TPL), Idaho Conservation League and county and city entities to identify promising trail connections and fill gaps in our existing trail system and to expand our network of trails across Bonner County.

Additionally a Greenprint will be created that will identify community priorities for protecting important landscapes in and around Sandpoint and surrounding towns. The Greenprint will also guide efforts for protecting important land and water resources.

So, please fill out the survey today and we’ll help keep you posted on the results in the future!

Ponderay Buys Waterfront for Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail

SANDPOINT – A three-year campaign to raise funds to purchase nearly a mile of waterfront along the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail culminated this week with the second purchase of shoreline property by the City of Ponderay.
The Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail, which raised $400,000 to help with the property purchases, applauded the cities of both Ponderay and Sandpoint for investing in what’s becoming a favorite lakefront destination for residents and visitors alike.
“We are gratified by the way our community stepped up to make this shoreline trail something the public as a whole can enjoy for all time,” said Larry Davidson, president of the non-profit Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail.
While the shoreline trail can now only be accessed through a trailhead in Sandpoint, north of City Beach, the city officials in Ponderay dream of one day connecting the trail to their community with a safe railroad crossing.
“For Ponderay and Kootenai families, proximity to the lake has long been clouded by the lack of access,” said Erik Brubaker, Planning, Parks and Development Director for the City of Ponderay. “Completing the connection to the lake, having now extended that access along the lakeshore, would add value to our great neighborhoods and helps protect our outdoor-loving, small-town traditions.”
The Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay is a non-profit organization working with the cities of Ponderay, Sandpoint and Kootenai to create a non-motorized shoreline trail that will connect these communities and provide safe, public access to Lake Pend Oreille.
In order to permanently protect the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail, the cities and the Friends agreed to collectively purchase the waterfront corridor from the Hall family over a period of four years. According to the agreement, the City of Sandpoint purchased the first two parcels in 2011 and 2012, the City of Ponderay purchased the third and fourth parcels in 2013 and 2014, with the Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail raising sufficient funds for the fourth parcel.
The Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail conducted a campaign to raise $400,000 to complete the purchase of the final parcel by this week’s deadline. The group raised the money over two years from private foundations, individuals and fundraising events.
The vision for the trail began many years ago with Ross and Hazel Hall, who owned the property and saw the potential for a public pathway along the trail corridor, known to many locals as “bum jungle.” North Idaho Bikeways president Bob Carlson was the first to promote the trail and put it on a planning map for the region. Carlson also served on the original bay trail planning committee launched by the City of Sandpoint nearly 10 years ago.
“This trail has always been the highest priority for Sandpoint trails,” Carlson said. “But Ponderay’s concerns over drawing kids across the tracks and private ownership by the Hall family and the railroad put that off until five years ago.”
“An almost impossible set of obstacles has finally been overcome to bring this linear beach park into the public domain,” he said.
The Friends are planning a formal dedication next month, followed by a party at the Pend d’Oreille Winery in Sandpoint on Nov. 13.

Porta-potty at the trail!

The porta-potty has arrived! Thanks to Bob Carlson for making the arrangements. The Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail are paying for the monthly fee. If you’d like to contribute to help with maintaining the porta-potty and also purchasing mutt mitts and garbage bags, please make a donation!

Be parking-aware at the trailhead, please!

noparkingOur friends at the Seasons at Sandpoint, just adjacent to the bay trail trailhead, have given a reminder that parking in front of the furthest north building at Seasons – the one with only the foundation – is not allowed. There are signs that say No Parking/Tow Away Zone and vehicles will be towed. The street in front of that building is also painted red at the edge of the road to bring even more attention to the no parking zone.

“We just want to avoid as much potential consternation and inconvenience as possible for visitors to the beautiful trail in case a vehicle is towed that is parked in this no parking zone,” said Scott Olpin of Seasons.

Trail users, if the trailhead parking is full, please park at City Beach or other public parking. We want to be good neighbors; thank you!

2014 Bay Trail Fun Run A Great Success!

FunRunLogoOur second annual Bay Trail Fun Run was held June 8, and it was a great success – made all the more wonderful by absolutely gorgeous weather. A total of 314 participants signed up to run or walk, with 296 recorded finishers. This year we used Across The Line automated timing to get accurate results.

Top finishers: Fastest woman overall in the 5K was Amy Scott at 21 minutes, 40 seconds. Fastest man in 5K was Patrick Goodman, at 19:49. In the 10K, fastest woman was Shaunavee Dick at 42:56 and fastest man was Jon Harding of Sandpoint at 41:11.

Of course, many participants took a slower pace, just to enjoy the day and support the trail. If you couldn’t make it, or even if you could, you can relive the moment in photos:

Once again, thank you to all our volunteers, sponsors and especially the runners and walkers that made the Fun Run such a fine event.

Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail Planning Moves to Next Phase

With initial acquisitions largely accomplished, focus now turns to connecting communities with access at trail’s north endpoint. The goal: access for and connection to Kootenai and Ponderay.

And the first phase of the next phase is rigorous planning with the cities and trail stakeholders. Read about this critical next phase and two new Request for Proposals to assist the process. Read our press release below.

Friends of Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail and Ponderay Seeking Consultants

SANDPOINT – Lesson No. 1 from several years of effort to develop a public trail along the shoreline of Lake Pend Oreille: Planning pays off.

So now that the campaign to purchase a critical link for the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail is nearly complete, trail advocates have turned their attention to the next steps necessary to complete the Pend dOreille Bay Trail.

And step No. 1 is more planning.

“It’s great that the public can now enjoy access to Lake Pend Oreille along a shoreline trail,” said Larry Davidson, president of the non-profit group Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail.

“However, our work isn’t done,” Davidson said. “Now it’s an out and back experience from the south end, and people in Kootenai and Ponderay still don’t have direct access from the north end. Also, we might want more amenities in the future. So we need better direction on where to go from here.”

The City of Ponderay and the Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail have released two requests for proposals (RFPs) to help address these issues.

The city’s request is for a “Neighborhood Sub Area Plan” that will help guide decisions about the location and size of a railroad underpass, contaminated property cleanup and the type of development that could occur on both the lakeshore and the west side of the tracks.

A companion planning effort will be the “Master Trail and Interpretive Plan” for the length of the trail, from Sandpoint’s City Beach to the Bonner County Historical Society’s proposed museum site in Kootenai.

In 2010, the Friends published the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail Concept Plan, a two-year award-winning community planning effort that was made possible with the help of a National Park Service technical services grant.

The Concept Plan gave general direction and a 30,000-foot view of the trail. But some of the proposed elements in the Concept Plan are no longer relevant because of changing circumstances. The Master Trail and Interpretive Plan will give more detail and provide cost estimates. The plan will also focus on how to share the natural and cultural history stories of the local area.

Some of the most difficult questions are related to how to connect the shoreline to Ponderay and Kootenai. Ponderay’s Sub Area Plan will help answer those. The project area for both plans also includes Brownfields sites on the shoreline that are contaminated from historic mine smelting operations.

The City of Ponderay and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality are currently working on a plan for cleaning up the sites, which are contaminated with lead and other heavy metals. The current public portion of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail stops short of those properties.

“We want a plan that can help guide public parkland and private property redevelopment of the Brownfields sites on the lakeshore in a manner fitting with our local values,” said Erik Brubaker, Ponderay City Planner. “We also want to give our town a presence on the lake, both for the quality of life for our residents and to give people another reason to visit Ponderay.

“Highway 200 is our Route 66,” he added, “and right now you can pass through Ponderay and have no idea that a pretty nice lake is right over there.”

Ponderay and the Friends hope to have consultants hired by the end of the summer. The planning is being entirely funded through grants from the LOR Foundation, a Wyoming-based family foundation dedicated to enhancing livability in the rural intermountain west.

Because the Master Trail and Interpretive Plan will cross jurisdictional lines, it is being overseen by an interagency committee of planners from the cities of Sandpoint, Ponderay, Kootenai and Bonner County, as well as members of the board of the Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail.

Meanwhile, the City of Ponderay plans to purchase the final parcel of four waterfront lots this fall owned by the Hall family that are in the trail corridor. In November, the Friends announced the successful completion of a $400,000 capital campaign to cover the cost of that purchase.

The four parcels stretch along nearly a mile of shoreline from Sandpoint’s water treatment plant and the historic Humbird Mill ruins in the south, past the Elks Golf Course to within a few hundred feet of Black Rock, the old smelter site.

Potential applicants can get copies of the RFPs through the City of Ponderay and City of Sandpoint websites: www.cityofponderay.org and www.cityofsandpoint.com/POBT/.

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