Repairs to the observation tower at Port Angeles City Pier, shown Wednesday, could begin as early as this month using lodging tax funds. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Repairs to the observation tower at Port Angeles City Pier, shown Wednesday, could begin as early as this month using lodging tax funds. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles OKs funding for tower, playground

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles City Pier’s observation tower and Dream Playground both are expected to be rebuilt this spring.

The City Council unanimously approved more than $800,000 in lodging tax funds on Tuesday that will address both projects.

The tower, which stands 56 feet above the pier, has been closed to the public since Nov. 21 after an engineer’s report identified structural deficiencies that made it unsafe.

“They found that the saltwater had really affected some of the tie-down structures on the bottom side of the tower,” said Mike Healy, the city’s director of Public Works and Utilities. “It’s just in a terrible environment, both air and water underneath the pier.”

The city had inspected the pier about 2½ years ago, Healy said, but only minor issues were found.

The $574,464 approved for the tower on Tuesday will address all the structural repairs. Also, the paint will be taken down to the metal and the entire structure recoated, Healy said.

The project is expected to begin this month and be finished in May.

All the structural brackets are to be replaced by lifting the deck structure and securing the connecting members. The project also will require extensive environmental tenting and safeguards, engineering and inspection services, a city memo said.

The paint will be a special kind of coating that requires a marine environment permit from the state Department of Natural Resources, Healy said.

“We’re also going to throw the inspecting in future years into our normal structural bridge inspection,” he said. “It will be looked at every single year.”

Playground

The city also approved $250,000 in lodging tax funds to rebuild Dream Playground, which was destroyed by fire on Dec. 20.

A 14-year-old boy who was arrested shortly after the fire has been charged with first-degree arson and is expected in juvenile court today for a findings of fact hearing.

“We all went from sad to mad, and now we’re getting ready to move forward and say, hey, let’s get this done for our community,” Corey Delikat, Port Angeles Parks and Recreation director, told council members on Tuesday.

Delikat said it’s estimated to cost between $550,000 and $600,000 to rebuild the playground, and the time frame is set for May 15-19.

“That’s the only time this year we could actually do the project,” Delikat said. “If not, we would have to wait until next year.”

He added that two contractors, Play by Design and ForeverLawn, both will be available during that time.

“They were willing to drop what they’re doing and come to Port Angeles and help us out,” Delikat said.

The Dream Playground Foundation has received about $175,000 in donations “without even asking the community for a dime,” Delikat said.

The foundation also has $50,000 in endowment money, leaving it between $100,000 and $150,000 to raise, Delikat said.

“One of the reasons we’re pushing to get this done is really for the healing of our community,” he said.

The city has submitted an insurance claim through the Washington Cities Insurance Authority. If it comes through, the $250,000 approved Tuesday night would be returned to the lodging tax fund.

________

Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-417-3531 or by email at brian.mclean@peninsula dailynews.com.

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