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Port of Coupeville closes beach access by wharf

Tim McDonald, executive director for Port of Coupeville, and other officials for port closed a Front Street public beach access due to safety concerns with the stairs leading down to the water. - Nathan Whalen photo
Tim McDonald, executive director for Port of Coupeville, and other officials for port closed a Front Street public beach access due to safety concerns with the stairs leading down to the water.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen photo

Due to safety concerns, leaders for the Port of Coupeville chained off a Front Street entry point to the beach.

The stairs near the port office by Coupeville Wharf were recently blocked. People can still walk down to the beach by using the Front Street deck, located next to the Knead and Feed.

“The stairway is falling apart and it’s not safe to go down there,” said Tim McDonald, executive director for Port of Coupeville. He added parts of the concrete stairs have broken, the sand underneath is washing away and there’s nothing anchoring the stairs. There is also a large piece of wood blocking the stairs and hampering people’s access to the shore.

Port officials said they noticed the state of the stairs last month. A chain currently blocks the entry at the top and bottom of the stairs while officials figure out how to address the issues.

The access is just the latest maintenance problem to arise for a public entity that owns two 100-year-old facilities — the Coupeville Wharf and Greenbank Farm.

“Basically we have more maintenance than we can handle,” Port Commissioner Marshall Bronson said during last week’s monthly meeting.

The Port of Coupeville recently received a rural development fund grant that will provide up to $70,000 to pay for new fuel floats at the Coupeville Wharf. The current concrete floats are prone to breaking away from the Wharf during severe weather. The fuel float project is currently going through the permitting process through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state Departments of Ecology, Natural Resources andFish and Wildlife.

Also the sewer system at the Greenbank Farm needs to be redesigned and officials are working to meet requirements set by the state Department of Health. Officials have to hire a professional engineer to design the new system and they have to find someone to manage the system since the former manager is no longer available.

The current sewage system was installed by Greenbank Farm’s previous owner, Chateau Ste. Michelle. When it was installed, it was designed to handle special events.

However, with the addition of a restaurant and a food production facility, the current system isn’t able to handle the load.

Port officials are also busy developing an updated list of construction, repair and maintenance projects.

It will be up to the commissioners for the Port of Coupeville to come up with a priority list. Leaders have currently budgeted to spend $70,464 in construction, repair and maintenance in 2014.

The small port district received $335,000 in Conservation Futures Funds in 2013 for a conservation easement placed on the agriculture, recreational and environmentally sensitive lands at Greenbank Farm.

Officials have yet to decide how to use that additional funding.

 

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