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Port approves sale option for trail on mill site waterfront

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Port of Chelan County property seen along the Wenatchee River at the old Peshastin Mill site. According to Port spokesman Craig Larsen, the strip of land they agreed to sell to the Complete the Loop Coalition is the land from the river to the road, seen in the photo.

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WENATCHEE — A pedestrian trail could be built along the Wenatchee River through the old Peshastin mill site if funding comes through to buy the land from the Port of Chelan County.

The port board unanimously agreed Thursday to sell a strip of the mill site’s approximately three-quarter mile of Wenatchee River waterfront to the Complete the Loop Coalition for some $452,000.

Port spokesman Craig Larsen said the property covers about 14 acres within the 60-acre mill site property and extends 140 feet back from the high water line.

A more precise acreage and sale price will become part of the purchase agreement after the land is surveyed and the waterfront piece subdivided, Larsen said.

Bob Parlette, spokesman for the coalition, said Monday that the purpose of the purchase-and-sale agreement with the port is to preserve the use of that land for a public trail and waterfront access.

The coalition hopes an organization like Trout Unlimited, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife or other agency or group of agencies will agree to fund the sale.

I don’t know how it’s going to fit together. It’s a puzzle piece,” Parlette said Monday. “We want to make sure the public ends up with it and we have an easement for a non-motorized trail.”

An eventual trail on the property could also form part of a very long-term vision among valley recreationists to create a non-motorized route from Wenatchee to Leavenworth, Parlette said.

The coalition has a $5,000 deposit on the property that’s refundable until Oct. 1, Larsen said.

The port has been trying to sell the old mill site since 2006. A recent announcement that private developers are interested in buying the property for home construction worries some members of the Peshastin community.

The Peshastin group has been hoping for a port-developed business park or other job-creating development that would also preserve public access to the mill site’s waterfront.

Larsen said the sale option with the coalition addresses the public-access issue, which, he said is one of the leading concerns expressed by community members.

The port is committed to public waterfront access for at least a portion of the property,” Larsen said. “Through this sale, we’re expanding on that commitment and providing public waterfront access along the entire length of the property.”

Prospective buyers are interested in the rest of the mill site property, Larsen said, but a sale doesn’t appear imminent.

Reach Christine Pratt at 509-665-1173 or . Follow her on Twitter at @CPrattWW.