By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“Having a second ramp will increase efficiency,” said Commissioner Steve Tucker at an informal session with members of the group Wednesday.
“Right now, if there’s a problem with one of the boats and it gets stuck, it could be backed up for hours.”
The anglers were given the information as they presented the port with a check for $500 to go toward the $1,000 cost of a new fish-cleaning station next to the fuel dock at the end of the marina.
The present 18-foot-wide, 45-foot-long ramp, built in 1995, now allows only one boat at a time, which can lead to long lines of boaters entering and leaving the water.
The plan is to widen it to allow access to two boats at a time, adding a second 18-foot-wide ramp and a 6-foot buffer between the ramps.
Both ramps would be extended to about 60 feet to provide trailers with 6 feet of depth during low tide, Deputy Port Director Jim Pivarnik said.
The cost is estimated at $561,463.
The port is beginning the application process for a grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office that would provide three-fourths of the fund and should receive word in the fall, Pivarnik said.
Construction will take about three months. It cannot take place during the “fish window” between Feb. 15 and July 15 or during busy summer months, so it most likely will begin in fall 2015.
The expansion will cause the elimination of four parking spaces, but a traffic revision will result in no loss of spaces, Pivarnik said.
The boat ramp is on the northeast corner of the Boat Haven, with a two-way street fronting the marina.
The change involves closing the southbound lane along the water and creating a one-way loop around the edge of the parking lot and in front of the port’s administration building.
The port also will create additional parking for trailers by keeping a front-facing section of the Boat Haven open during peak season, Pivarnik said.
The fish-cleaning station the anglers contributed to is open now but won’t be in use until fishing season begins.
The sink is large enough for two simultaneous fish-cleaning operations.
“This is something we’ve wanted here for some time, and it seemed silly that we didn’t have a fish-cleaning station here,” said Eric Elliott, who runs the fuel dock.
“Fisherman will really appreciate this. They won’t have to crouch down to clean their fish and get blood all over the dock.”
Fish entrails will be washed directly into the water, where they will be eaten by crabs and other marine animals.
This could actually provide another fishing opportunity, some said.
“Maybe we’ll get a crab population down there,” Pivarnik said.
Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at email@example.com.