Sims Gateway Project open house set for Saturday

Stakeholder committee, city, port and PUD to be on hand with designers

PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend residents will have an opportunity to view proposed designs for the tree-lined gateway leading into the city at an open house Saturday.

The open house will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Port Townsend Community Center at 620 Tyler St.

The Sims Gateway and Boat Yard Expansion Citizen Stakeholder Committee and project team will incorporate feedback gained from the open house into their final recommendation to the City Parks Board on Aug. 23.

The City Council, Port Commission and Jefferson County Public Utility District Commission will then review the recommendations at a joint special meeting in September to make a final decision on design concept.

Over the past four months, the nine-member Citizen Stakeholder Committee has met bi-monthly with representatives from the City of Port Townsend, the Port of Port Townsend and the Jefferson County Public Utility District and with project consultants.

They have preferred and alternative design concepts for the section of Sims Way that runs between the Kah Tai Lagoon to its north and the Boat Haven to its south.

Among the preferred design concepts that will be shown are: tree removal locations and replanting concepts, pedestrian walkway development, edge and buffer development and maintenance and fencing and setbacks.

The design concepts the Citizen Stakeholder Committee did not prefer also will be shown, including no expansion of the boatyard and no undergrounding of power lines, and partial expansion of the boat yard with undergrounding.

The project’s most contentious element is the plan to cut down about 150 Lombardy poplar trees in order to install a pedestrian-bicycle path, underground the power lines and expand the boat yard. The trees are creating a safety hazard by arcing with high-voltage powerlines, officials have said.

The Gateway Poplar Alliance, a local group opposed to removing the poplars, has organized awareness and fundraising campaigns, like an Adopt-a-Poplar program, to keep the poplars along Sims Way.

The goal of the Sims Gateway and Boat Yard Expansion project is to improve public safety, increase economic opportunity for the maritime trades community, and restore and enhance native ecosystems along Sims Way as it passes between the boat haven and Kah Tai Lagoon, officials have said.

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