Jefferson County commissioners approved a $1 million grant Monday that will help pay for an expansion of Boat Haven — as well as the logging of the iconic gauntlet of poplar …
Jefferson County commissioners approved a $1 million grant Monday that will help pay for an expansion of Boat Haven — as well as the logging of the iconic gauntlet of poplar trees that greet people on their way into downtown Port Townsend.
Commissioners had earlier expressed support for the boatyard expansion project, and Monday’s approval of the grant was a consent-agenda item that drew sparse comment.
It followed a meeting last week of the county’s Public Infrastructure Fund Board, which gave the grant proposal a green light for county approval.
County Commissioner Greg Brotherton noted Monday that he had recently toured the boatyard, and said the project was a good one.
He said he was excited about the gateway project.
“I think it really ... is in the best interest of the community,” Brotherton said.
The infrastructure project includes more than the expansion of the boatyard, and one piece of the plan has been highly controversial: the removal of approximately 130 Lombardy poplars that line Sims Way.
Many residents have bemoaned the loss of the tree-lined corridor, which exploded into a showy display every autumn and partially screen the Port of Port Townsend’s Boat Haven and Kah Tai Lagoon in spring and summer.
The boatyard expansion project also includes planting new trees where the Lombardy poplars currently stand, moving the power lines on the south side of Sims Way underground, installing a walkway for pedestrians, expanding the boatyard to its property line, and putting up a new fence at Boat Haven.
The cost of the project has been estimated at roughly $2 million.
Roughly half of the funding will come from the grant via Jefferson County’s Public Infrastructure Fund Board.
Three entities — the city of Port Townsend, Jefferson County Public Utility District No. 1, and the Port of Port Townsend — submitted a joint proposal to the Public Infrastructure Fund Board for grant funding for the project in early October.
According to the application for public infrastructure funds, the port, city, and PUD note the project will expand the boatyard by 5 percent, with the potential creation of 20 new maritime trades jobs within five years.
Officials have said the tree-lining stands of poplars are at the end of their lifespan and pose a risk to nearby power lines.
The grant application said cutting down the trees and replacing them with more appropriate varieties “will enhance the experience of the gateway to our community for residents and visitors alike.”
The cost of the project is estimated at $1,970,000.
In addition to the grant money, the gateway project will be funded by $450,000 from the port; $350,000 from the PUD; and $185,000 from the city.
According to the application for county funding, the trees on the south side of Sims Way will be cut down in June, with the poplar trees on the other side of Sims Way to be removed in December.
Most of the $1 million sought from the Public Infrastructure Fund Board — a total of $915,000 — would finance the work on the south side of Sims Way, which includes the boatyard expansion with fencing and other electrical improvements, putting power lines underground, installing a path, and replanting trees.
The remaining $85,000 in funding of county infrastructure funding will pay for cutting down the poplars one the north side of Sims Way, as well as replanting that stretch of the street.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here