While boats won't be docking at Wrangell's Heritage Harbor anytime soon, the project moved forward another step at a Jan. 8 City Council meeting. The Council authorized the mayor or vice mayor to sign the project agreement between the Department of the Army and the city. The agreement will commit the city financially to the project.
The project is divided into two phases. Phase one, expected to take several years, is the breakwater and dredging, which will be done by the Army Corps of Engineers. It is estimated to cost $16 million, 80 percent of which will be paid by the Corps, 10 percent by the state and 10 percent by the city.
Phase two of the project is the design and construction of the float system. The Corps expects the project to cost between $7.5 and $8.5 million. Voters have approved $4.5 million worth of bonds to fund the project. The city is still seeking additional funding to lower the amount it needs to borrow for construction.
The city's cost estimates for the project, however, are significantly lower than those of the Corps. The city estimates the total cost of the project to be $18.86 million, as opposed to the Corps' $25.46 million estimate.
Former harbormaster Dave Mork, who was Sitka's harbormaster during construction of its new harbor, found costs there to be only about half of what the Corps estimated. The Corps has a 20 percent contingency built into its figures, he said.