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Park plans going forward

Waterfront trail would be rerouted and public dock expanded by 2010.

While other capital projects may be left grounded by ebbing city funds, planners are pushing forward with a reconstruction project at Waterfront Park.

The city is developing a plan to reroute a portion of Waterfront Trail and expand the public dock to include more tie-up space for non-motorized vessels.

Funding for the project was secured last October through a $1.2 million state Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account grant. The city has committed to matching the grant with $700,000, and plans to permit the project this summer.

City planner Kelly Dickson, who gave the Metropolitan Park and Recreation District board a preview of the draft design Thursday night, said the intent of the trail restructure is to protect vegetation while restoring the natural shoreline and beach.

The draft plan calls for the most significant work to focus on a portion of trail that currently follows a stone bulkhead along the water. Under the plan, the trail would be rerouted away from the water behind a row of madrona trees and connect with the existing paved pathway.

The eastern portion of the bulkhead would be kept in place, but fill dirt and gravel would be added to form a gentle slope down to the beach.

Several water-access points would give pedestrians the option of walking along the beach, except during extreme high tides.

A m iddle section of the bulkhead — located closer to the public dock — would be removed entirely and the bank would be reinforced with logs and backfilled.

The upland trail would be widened and recontoured near the walking bridge to the maintenance yard to make it wheelchair accessible, Dickson said.

Along with preserving vegetation, Dickson said the city is interested in saving historical aspects of the shoreline. Archaeologists and cultural specialists from the Suquamish tribe have been surveying the banks where a native village once stood.

The grant will also provide for the expansion of the public dock to give more expansion of the public dock to give more space to dinghies as well as sailing club boats, rowing shells and kayaks.

Day-use dinghy tie ups are limited to about 30 feet of dock and five cleats. The public dock becomes especially cramped at low tide, said Harbormaster Tami Allen. It was originally built in 1985 using grant money, and its main purpose was to provide a facility for gas-powered boats.

Allen said the ALEA grant will help provide for the growing number of paddlers, rowers and sailors who use the harbor.

“It’s a whole new source of money, and passive uses are finally being accommodated,” she said.

Ideally the expanded dock would accommodate 50 to 60 small water-craft, provide a safe place for loading and unloading, and a wider, shallower ramp for wheelchair access.

The float used for kayak rentals probably will be moved farther from shore to prevent it from grounding at low tide. Storage for rowing shells would also be incorporated in the design.

Dickson said the city is still working with several dock designs.

“What we’re struggling with is how to provide new moorage, make room for the rowing float and boat rental, but do it in a way that is ADA accessible,” she said.

Dickson said the space above the dock that is currently occupied by three Porta-Potties may be turned into vehicle loading areas and a parking space for disabled users.

The city plans to complete the project in 2010 to meet the requirements of the grant. Planners are gathering public input and designs will be reviewed by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, and other state agencies.

City planners will share draft plans and take comments on the Waterfront Trail and public dock revision at an open house June 3 at City Hall.

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