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Docks board approves $50,000 'Band-Aids' for DeHart's

Posted: April 7, 2011 - 9:13pm

The City and Borough of Juneau’s Docks and Harbors Board Thursday unanimously approved $50,000 to put what a city official termed “Band-Aids” on DeHart’s Marina, in hopes of allowing the dilapidated boat dock to operate through the coming summer months.

In fact, concerns about the marina’s condition dominated much of the board’s discussion of the funding, and led to a condition being placed on the expenditure of the funds: the city’s risk manager must agree the facility won’t create any liability concerns beyond existing insurance protection.

“The facility is clearly substandard compared with anything I’m aware of in the larger municipalities in Alaska,” city Port Director John Stone said, adding the fixes approved by the board were merely “Band-Aids” to get the marina through this summer.

More than 15 members of the public, along with the nine-member board, crowded into the Aurora Harbor office for a special meeting, but only four addressed the board on the proposed repairs to DeHart’s. All agreed the repairs should be made.

The money for the repairs would come from existing funds in the Statter Harbor Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Stone said this could be done without authorization from the City Assembly, and board chairman Jim Preston said reallocations of funds had happened in the past for similar projects. The money will be returned to the CIP from future harbor reserve funds, Stone said. Using those dollars now instead of as a replacement would require Assembly approval, a process which could delay work on DeHart’s by six weeks, Stone said.

With the repairs, Dehart’s is now expected to remain in operation throughout this summer. It’s longer-term future, however, is unclear. The city purchased DeHart’s in 2005 for $2.6 million as part of its larger plans to improve and augment existing moorage space and marine facilities in Auke Bay, according to information on the city’s website. Repairs to Statter Harbor are expected to be completed either by this winter or the winter of 2012, with a launch ramp expected to be operational in 2013. Stone told the board current agreements for moorage space at DeHart’s lapse July 1. Those agreements are typically for one year, but customers may be informed this year a renewal could be for a shorter time, he said.

A motion made by board member Eric Kueffner to tie the $50,000 expenditure to a mandate boats be removed from DeHart’s this winter was withdrawn after board members expressed concerns of mixing one concern — repairs — with another — the disposition of DeHart’s.

In other business, the board unanimously approved a $5,000 outlay to PND Engineers for an assessment of the structure housing the Travelift at DeHart’s. PND’s proposal lays out a six-week time frame for that analysis, but Stone said he believed the process could be completed in a shorter period.

The board’s operations committee is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. April 19 in the Aurora Harbor office. The next scheduled meeting of the full board is at 7 p.m. April 28 in the Assembly Chambers.

• Contact Deputy Managing Editor Charles Ward at 523-2266 or at charles.ward@juneauempire.com.

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