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50 ¢ Examiner The Whidbey News from the Heart of Whidbey Island THURSDAY, July 19, 2012 Transit facility takes shape VOL. 17, NO. 50 Thanks, Wilbur! By Elisabeth Murray Examiner Staff Writer The open, grassy fields east of the bus parking lot at the Island Transit facility on Hwy. 20 near Coupeville have been transformed into piles of dirt and the foundation for its new building is going in. Last October, Island Transit learned that it had been awarded almost $18 million in federal State of Good Repair grant money administered by the Federal Transit Administration. By April, the agency was celebrating the groundbreaking and start of construction by lead contractor Tiger Construction of Everson. The $22.4 million project is designed to meet growing regional transportation demands for at least the next 30 years. Martha Rose, who has been the executive director of Island Transit since 1991, said getting the funding approved took so long that it was a huge relief when it finally came through. “I am still in complete shock,” she said with a grin. Photos showing progress on the project are posted on the Island Transit website each Tuesday. The construction project is ahead of schedule, Rose said. In the next few weeks, the water main, septic tank and pipes will be installed, and the construction crew will begin pouring concrete for the walls. As the site was cleared, workers created huge mounds of dirt excavated from the site. The construction team has been sifting the deep brown topsoil, removing gravel, tree roots and other large debris. Island Transit plans to reuse the soil to create a rolling landscape on the property, Rose said. “It looks like a lot of soil,” she said. “But it appears we will reuse it all for the project.” The gravel also will be used on site for base fill, and the trees removed from the area have been turned into mulch for landscaping. The new facility will be eight times larger than Island Transit’s current facility, and will have six times the numSee TRANSIT, page 7 Kasia Pierzga / The Whidbey Examiner Wilbur Purdue of Prairie Bottom Farm offered a little extra help moving The Whidbey Examiner from its former office on Coveland Street in Coupeville’s historic district to its new location in Coupe’s Village on South Main Street. Purdue hauled the newspaper’s heavy wooden archive shelves across town early Tuesday, towing the unit on an antique John Deere squash trailer behind the trusty 1953 Ford Golden Jubilee tractor that belonged to his grandfather, Wilbur Sherman. The Examiner now shares office space with the Whidbey News-Times, the South Whidbey Record and the Crosswind. Stop by and say hello! Solar pea patch grows at Greenbank Farm By Elisabeth Murray Examiner Staff Writer A much larger field of solar-energy panels will soon greet visitors to the pastoral, rolling fields of Greenbank Farm. The black panels affixed to metal frames are being installed next to the existing array owned by Island Community Solar, LLC, a Whidbey-based venture financed mostly by local investors. That array began energy production in June 2011. Once completed, the installation will triple its current footprint and cover a full acre. The Port of Coupeville owns 151 acres of the farm. The Port of Coupeville commissioners have different opinions as to whether or not this increased panel spread will change the character of the farm. Commissioner Laura Blankenship said the site chosen impacts the character of the farm, but CommisSee SOLAR, page 2 Elisabeth Murray / The Whidbey Examiner Whidbey Sun and Wind summer employee Elise King installs racks for solar panels at Greenbank Farm. ADDRESS

Whidbey Examiner, July 19, 2012

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