Port Townsend’s “Old Blue” Visitor’s Information Center on Sims Way is demolished this spring. The location is under construction to add new landscaping and other improvements. The construction for the project began today. (Peninsula Daily News file)

Port Townsend’s “Old Blue” Visitor’s Information Center on Sims Way is demolished this spring. The location is under construction to add new landscaping and other improvements. The construction for the project began today. (Peninsula Daily News file)

Construction begins on new visitor center in Port Townsend

$421,928 undertaking projected to be finished before October ends

PORT TOWNSEND — Construction on a new visitor center will begin today.

The $421,928 project on the corner of Jefferson Street and East Sims Way is expected to be completed by the end of October.

During this time, the intersection of Jefferson Street and Sims Way will be closed to vehicles.

Construction is scheduled to occur between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday with 75 total working days scheduled, Laura Parsons public works project manager said.

The visitor center is part of the Chamber of Jefferson County building located at 2409 Jefferson St.

Improvements to the property will include enhanced visitor center access, additional parking, new stormwater facilities, landscaping and 275 feet of sidewalk, Parsons said.

The construction also will include the installation of a large-scale sculpture by late artist Russell Jaqua, titled “For Willene.” Jaqua also worked on the railing of the Port Townsend City Hall and the fire doors on the front of the Port Townsend Library, according to the project’s plans.

Parsons is glad that construction has officially started.

“Its a nice project and it has a focus of the art piece, which is kind of unusual for a city project, so that’s good,” Parsons said.

“I’m a construction manager, so I am excited to see construction start and for people to start seeing and enjoying it.”

Parking spaces adjacent to the visitor center will be available for use during the construction. After construction, the current eight parking spaces — one of which is for disabled drivers — will increase to 14 spaces, which includes two spaces for disabled, according to the project’s plans.

The project has been in talks since 2016, with different plans for the space being drafted before the current plan was approved last spring.

The blueprint and other renderings for the project can be found online at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-VisitorCenter.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].

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