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Port beach access could take a year for repairs

It looks like it may be a year before the public beach access at Coupeville Wharf reopens to the public.

Executive Director Tim McDonald said because of money and the anticipated permitting process, the repairs on the project probably won’t start until late winter or early spring 2015.

The port initially closed the stairs in early 2014 due to safety concerns about the stairs and railing. Engineering estimates show the issue goes beyond the stairs and is connected to the port office building and bulkhead.

“There’s been a  great deal of pressure to open the stairwell, which was closed for safety reasons,” said Commissioner Marshall Bronson. “We really have to look at it as a whole.

“It’s closed by chain. Anyone who really wants to can get there.”

Commissioners approved a contract with an engineer for the project, but have no definite cost estimate for the entire project.

“I know we don’t have any money now,” McDonald said. “Based on the current budget, we’ll have to wait.”

The port anticipates the permitting process to take roughly six months.

Initially, the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association came forward willing to help with the project.

“The problem is there’s no in-between,” said Vickie Chambers, executive director of the waterfront association. “We approached them to help offset the cost of the stairs, but the scope of the project got so huge.

“We’ve backed off until they had a better handle on the costs.”

In the meantime, the port is looking at posting signs directing visitors to the beach access down the street.

“We’re working to still help them,” Chambers said. “Since the stairs isn’t going to happen, we’re looking at helping them with signage.”

 

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