Construction will soon be underway on the City of Shelton’s Western Gateway project. The scope of work includes: new pavement; storm drain improvements; new water main and water services; new curb, gutter, and sidewalks; and a new bus pullout and bus shelter. In advance of that work, city crews will remove the railroad tracks that cross Railroad Avenue near the 11th Street intersection.
The Western Gateway project is an element of the 2015 Community Vision and Action Plan – Downtown Revitalization, a design study commissioned by the City of Shelton in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce. The revitalization concept was further refined by the Railroad Avenue Corridor Study discussed by the then-Commission in 2017.
Railroad Avenue rehabilitation has been identified as a high priority by City Council for several years. To support that objective, the City secured a $760,400 grant from the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board in 2018 to address transportation deficiencies at the western entrance to Shelton.
Opportunities to expand the scope of the project emerged in 2018 - 2019 when Simpson Railroad offered to gift the rail line properties, along with other Simpson-owned parcels, to the City for municipal uses. After extensive negotiations, the City agreed to take possession of the former Simpson rail line. Prior to the City’s acquisition of the rail line, Simpson terminated its lease with Peninsular Railroad and Lumberman’s Museum in September 2020 due to non-compliance with terms of the lease. The Museum was notified in December 2020 that the City was pursuing other opportunities for the rail line. City Council approved Resolution 1166-0820 which specified the use of the former Simpson properties for any good governmental purpose including use as multi-modal transportation facilities benefiting the entire community.
A clear community priority to provide trails in Shelton has emerged through extensive, ongoing community engagement over 20 years. Most recently, during a community outreach survey designed to inform the development of the 2020 Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PROST) Plan, respondents were asked about the types of facilities generally used when recreating. Shoreline areas and beaches were the number one choice (60%) with a slight preference given to walking and biking trails (58%) over unpaved nature trails (49%) as respondents' second and third choices, respectively.
The City intends to provide a paved multi-modal pathway extending from 1st Street to the intersection of Highway 101 and Shelton-Matlock Road. The installation of this pathway is part of a multi-year, multi-phase project to invest in community amenities to benefit the public.
Additional information about the project can be found on the City’s Western Gateway webpage, including a design concept presentation from the first project public meeting in 2019.