State Parks to present preferred plan for changes at Fort Worden

Meeting set for today

OLYMPIA — State Parks and Recreation Commission officials will present preliminary recommendations for replacing the boat launch at Fort Worden and moving the Port Townsend Marine Science Center at a meeting set for 6 p.m. today.

The state has been studying design alternatives for improving marine recreational opportunities and the shoreline environment at Fort Worden Historical State Park, it said in a press release.

The meeting will be in Room A at the Fort Worden Commons Building, 210 Battery Way, Port Townsend.

At the meeting, State Parks planning staff and consultants from Anchor QEA will present preliminary recommendations for the park’s marine area and will seek public feedback.

The marine area includes the existing boat ramp, pier, marine science center aquarium on the pier and the marine science center museum in the shoreside Canteen building.

The primary purpose of this project is to replace the existing boat launch with one that is more ecologically compatible with the shoreline and its natural processes, the state said.

In addition, park staff will recommend replacing the existing pier, according to the press release, and because the marine science center has a facility located on the existing pier, pre-design plans call for a new location on the upland side of the marine area adjacent to the existing buildings.

The pre-design recommendations will be available for download at bit.ly/FortWordenMarineArea a few days after the meeting, organizers said.

Three alternatives were presented at a meeting in April:

• Rehabilitate the pier and add an elevated boat launch.

• Relocate the pier and require the Port Townsend Marine Science Center to build on land.

• Remove both the boat launch and pier without replacing them; it also would require the Marine Science Center to move.

This is the first phase of the project, which requires State Parks to prepare a pre-design report for the state Office of Financial Management.

“The pre-design phase of this planning effort allows us to see the big picture and develop cost estimates for future development,” said Michael Hankinson, parks planner.

“We want to keep the project within the footprint of the existing structures but unify the marine area to make it more functional.”

The Parks and Recreation Commission has about $62,500 in state capital budget funds — 1.25 percent of the estimated $5 million project — to gauge public interest and determine if the total costs would be justifiable, it was announced in April.

The total price tag on the project, which is not now funded by the state, could change significantly based on the preferred alternative, Hankinson said.

The 432-acre Fort Worden State Park is co-managed with the Fort Worden Public Development Authority, which runs the overnight lodging and works with Centrum Arts Foundation and other on-site organizations.

For more information, see bit.ly/FortWordenMarineArea.

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