New sidewalk, upgraded ferry dock to be celebrated Saturday in Port Angeles
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Greg Scherer, owner of Pacific Rim Hobby in Port Angeles, will soon have better customer access to his business when sidewalk construction along Railroad Avenue is completed. -- Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A grand opening Saturday will mark the completion of a stretch of new sidewalk on the south side of West Railroad Avenue and celebrate the refurbished MV Coho ferry terminal.

The ribbon-cutting for both the ferry dock and the new sidewalk will be at 11:45 a.m. Saturday.

Rian Anderson, district manager for Black Ball Ferry Line, which runs the Coho between Port Angeles and Victoria, said the ceremony will take place just north of the Black Ball warehouse, directly across Railroad Avenue from the ferry terminal inspection station.

The newly constructed, $4 million Coho ferry dock has been open to southbound ferry traffic since a
May 1 soft opening.

With the sidewalk open, pedestrians will be able to access West Railroad Avenue from both South Laurel and North Oak streets. The area had been closed since October.

“Getting to the west side of the [Railroad] sidewalk is going to be a piece of cake,” said Greg Scherer, owner of Pacific Rim Hobby at the corner of Railroad Avenue and North Oak Street, on Tuesday.

“And there will be one waiting for you under the tent,” he added.

His store will offer free cake under a tent in the hobby shop’s gravel parking lot.

Barhop Brewing & Taproom at 124 W. Railroad Ave. also will celebrate the sidewalk opening by providing free hot dogs.

Prizes to be given away will include gift certificates from the brewery and from Necessities and Temptations gift shop at the corner of Railroad and Laurel Street.

Other prizes are trips to Victoria and Butchart Garden tours.

KONP radio will broadcast live between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Scherer said he also will have model-train demonstrations and will give away a $220 radio-controlled model P-51D Mustang fighter plane with a 39-inch wingspan.

He said he is glad to see this portion of the city’s ongoing esplanade project completed, saying sidewalk and street closures have affected his business over the past few months.

“It’s been exciting watching the progress and challenging keeping a positive attitude as business was impacted,” Scherer said.

“[I have] kind of mixed emotions there, I guess.”

Edna Petersen, owner of Necessities and Temptations store, said this weekend also represents the beginning of the summer tourist season for downtown’s businesses, a milestone especially welcome for shops such as hers along Railroad Avenue that have had to endure a winter with foot traffic impeded by the construction.

“We’ll have walkers again, and we’ll have traffic again, and that’s just exciting to look forward to,” Petersen said.

“[The grand openings are] a show of appreciation by those of us who have had sort of a tough winter because of the construction,” Petersen added.

In addition to the new sidewalk along the south side of Railroad Avenue, the city’s $3.9 million esplanade construction project will add a concrete promenade running parallel to Railroad and stretching out over the water to the north.

The project, expected to wrap up later this summer, also will improve the sidewalk along the west and east sides of Oak Street between First Street and Railroad Avenue.

The $16.7 million first phase of the city’s combined sewer overflow project, intended to increase stormwater and wastewater capacity between downtown and the city’s wastewater-treatment plant about a mile to the east, had necessitated the complete closure of North Oak Street and opened up a gaping hole in the pavement right next to Scherer’s shop.

This stretch of Oak Street reopened in March as crews with Ferndale-based IMCO General Construction finished their work installing new sewer lines under the street.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 14. 2013 6:27PM
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