Boaters will be able to launch their vessels at Amalga Harbor next spring without first having to check a tide table, thanks to improvements at the harbor.
For nearly 20 years, boaters had to consult a tide table to ensure the water was deep enough to launch. But a week ago, the city had 9 feet of dredge spoils removed to increase the depth, Port Director John Stone said.
The improvements also include building a 236-foot boat ramp - about 45 feet longer than the old one. The city will add a 170-foot dedicated kayak ramp so as not to conflict with boaters using the main ramp, Stone said. The kayak ramp will run parallel to, and north of, the main boat ramp.
The city is expanding the Amalga Harbor parking lot to create 60 more spaces for boat trailers. It is negotiating with property owners Alan and Russel Kegler to buy 1 acre of land to expand the parking lot, Stone said.
The city hopes to complete negotiations with the Keglers by the end of January, he said. A portion of the parking lot will be paved and lines painted to delineate parking spaces.
Restrooms in the parking lot will be replaced with a larger and better-ventilated facility.
The main boat launch ramp is slated for completion in the next month and the kayak ramp on March 15, Stone said. Work on the parking lot and restroom is scheduled for completion by May 1.
The $2.5 million project is funded by a $2.2 million state Department of Fish and Game grant. The Docks and Harbors Department added $300,000 from its budget.
The harbor, a popular spring and summer fishing spot, was getting antiquated, so the city decided to upgrade it, Stone said. Improved parking and boat launches will relieve some of the pressure from Don Statter Boat Harbor at Auke Bay, about 12 miles away, he said.
The city started to plan the work in 2001. The Docks and Harbor Board approved the upgrades in March and put the project out for bid. Channel Construction in Juneau is doing the work.
In a separate project, the Amalga and Huffman Harbors Community Association is in the final stages of building an access driveway and parking lot for about 16 nearby residents.
The association is soliciting bids for a company to build a 1,300-foot driveway that will extend from the Amalga Harbor parking lot across private property and city land, association President Bob Frampton said. At the end of the driveway, a parking area will be constructed on city land for Amalga and Huffman Harbor residents.
Those who live in the ridge between the two harbors will use the driveway to reach their property and will build spur driveways to their houses, Frampton said. Some Amalga Harbor residents will also build spur driveways. Huffman Harbor residents will still have to walk to their homes but the distance will be reduced.
The new driveway would provide security for harbor-area residents' vehicles, which have been broken into in the past, Frampton said. Residents have had to hike or boat back and forth between their houses and the parking lot.
Association members are paying for the lease and costs to construct the driveway out of their own pockets. The driveway is estimated at $100,000.
Meanwhile, the city expects to complete negotiations in the next couple of months on a contract to lease .26 of an acre to the association for the parking area at the end of the driveway, said Cynthia Johnson, a city lands and resources officer. The lease would be for 20 years, rented at fair market value, and it would prohibit vehicle repair work and the construction of any structures. The owner of Lot 7, which abuts the leased parcel, has the option to buy the land under the lease agreement. Edgar Huizer of Juneau owns the lot, Johnson said.
In October, the Juneau Assembly passed an ordinance to execute the lease agreement, and authorized an easement to each resident to enter onto city land.
Tara Sidor can be reached at email@example.com.