The Oxbow Trail project received the green light from the Hermiston City Council Monday.

The council voted unanimously to award the contract to Three Kings Environmental, Inc. The company was considered to be the lowest responsible bidder for the project that will extend the city’s existing recreational trail system 1.5 miles from Riverside Park to the intersection of Elm Street and 11th Street. The cost of the project is estimated to be $325,010.

Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter said the project aims to further connect the larger Hermiston Loop Trail. Fetter said, after completion of the Oxbow Trail, the Hermiston Loop Trail will be almost 70 percent connected.

“This will tie in to the Hermiston Loop Trail,” Fetter said. “Gaps are being filled in, and the Oxbow section is one of those gaps.”

The project is part of an ongoing effort by city officials to enhance parks and recreational facilities in Hermiston and provide resources for residents who are increasingly more physically active in the community.

“We don’t have a lot of trails,” Fetter said. “People expect this kind of thing. It’s the No. 1 desired recreational facility.”

Fetter said one of the primary expectations for the new trail system is it will improve the recreational infrastructure for Hermiston and prove to be an attraction for businesses when recruiting people to make the area their home. Fetter and other city officials are hoping the project will prove to be an added desireable factor for economic development.

“It becomes an attraction,” Fetter said. “It helps businesses draw people if there is a higher quality of life aspect. Having good parks and a trail system is one of those elements. That’s why we are investing in it. It will make us more competitive.”

The Oxbow Trail is expected to be complete by June 1, 2014.

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