PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners hope to meet with a U.S. Coast Guard representative during their Monday work session to discuss a letter of support for including the Slip Point Light Station on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The historic designation is part of a 20-year process for transferring the 23.6-acre parcel to Clallam County.
The site includes the dilapidated light station and several outbuildings. One structure has been used by the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.
Commissioners spoke in favor of the designation itself but expressed concern that if the property were transferred to the county, restoring and maintaining the light station could be costly, perhaps at least $1 million, according to staff.
The historic designation also could make repair and maintenance more expensive and problematic.
“The Coast Guard determined that one way to keep the ball rolling on the conveyance to the county was to get that process started,” Don Crawford, director of Parks, Fair and Facilities, told the commissioners at their March 13 work session.
“When I received a copy of the letter that was sent to the commissioners I contacted (U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer) here and the Coast Guard and both said the only purpose for this is to get the conveyance to continue to move forward. So that’s why I’m recommending you send a letter of support,“ he said.
Commissioner Randy Johnson said, “Where I’m going, unfortunately, having remodeled a lot of things that were not in fine shape, have we done a complete structural inventory of that?
“And where I’m going with that is, ‘Lo and behold!’ termites happen to occur sometimes. And then you get into it and then I have to do a whole structural remodel, etc., etc.,” he said.
Crawford said since the county doesn’t own the building, his staff’s ability to inspect it is limited. But after talking to the Coast Guard and Kilmer’s office, his thought was the Coast Guard would have to fix the building before transferring it to the county, he said.
What makes the property so attractive is that it would provide an uninterrupted stretch of public access beach from Slip Point all the way to the west, Crawford said.
Crawford said the Coast Guard is liable to do certain things to convey the property to the county so the commissioners need to have that conversation with them.
“And I need to do some work on coming up with what it is going to cost to do an assessment. Because this isn’t going to be a regular home inspection,” he said.
The site once hosted a U.S. Coast Guard station as well as a Native American settlement and graveyard, according to a staff memo. U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton, sponsored legislation in 2001 authorizing the transfer of the property to Clallam County for use as a recreational park.
A February 2006 from then-County Commissioner Mike Doherty, whose district covered the West End, to the Coast Guard stated, “Not only is the County Park system excited about this opportunity, but the citizens of the Clallam Bay and Sekiu are probably more so. In fact, the community has been discussing options for use of the building and grounds once the transfer is complete.”
The letter then listed 14 potential uses for the property.
Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.