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Grant applications for trees, fish slide repairs denied

Since money doesn’t grow on trees, Town officials and the La Conner Chamber of Commerce hoped reversing the process might pay off in support of a civic beautification campaign.

Alas, grants written to plant trees on Morris Street and remove trees and related cleanup work at Pioneer Park were not funded, so no money to repair the iconic salmon slide at Conner Waterfront Park, either.

Chamber director Mark Hulst and Parks Commission Chair Ollie Iversen vowed last week to try again despite the competitive nature of applications.

“We’ll continue to work with various committees and commissions in town to find grant money to do more beautification in the business district,” Hulst told town council at its Oct. 10 meeting.

Iversen, meanwhile, suggested a targeted “Adopt a Tree” fundraising drive be revived at the parks commission Oct. 11 meeting. He estimated trees would cost between $2,500 and $3,000 each.

Iversen and former town administrator John Doyle were disheartened at failing to gain a state Local Maintenance Program Recreation and Conservation Office grant for the fish slide repairs and the Pioneer Park tree work.

“If it comes up again next year, we’ll go for it again,” Iversen said.

Doyle noted the waterfront park idea bloomed around the slide. “It was always considered a critical feature of the park,” Doyle said.

The RCO grant was to have covered the bulk of rehab work on the slide.

With that option nixed for now, Doyle told council that private fundraising continues and another grant application will be submitted in 2024.

“We’re on track to get donations,” he said, “and we’ll be applying for the grant again next year and work on the slide in the spring.

“We want to get the slide working,” Doyle stressed. “It’s really critical to get that function back.”

Mayor Ramon Hayes praised Iversen and Doyle for their efforts to restore the slide.

“You’ve been committed to this for a long time,” Hayes said. “We’re grateful you’re taking this on and we’re looking forward to this spring.”


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