Buying DeHarts Marina and making it work for the city is a great idea, planning commissioners said Tuesday night.
Without opposition, the Juneau Planning Commission voted to recommend that the Juneau Assembly acquire DeHarts Marina in connection with city plans to redevelop Don Statter Boat Harbor at Auke Bay. Earlier this month, the Assembly Finance Committee agreed on a $2.6 million price for Dick Deems' 3-acre marina, planning to take it over in July.
Harbor improvements will be at the center of upgrades to the Auke Bay neighborhood and a focal point for recreation in the community, according to city planner Peter Freer's report to the commission. Overall plans include Bay Creek restoration, a seawalk, green spaces and opportunities for commercial retail development.
"This is certainly going to be the gem of the facilities we have," commission Chairman Mike Bavard said, commending Port Engineer Mike Krieber on recent improvements to Juneau's harbors. He also praised improvements at Douglas and Amalga harbors.
Plans for redevelopment of Statter Harbor have involved city agencies, area property owners and private industry, including tour operators, Krieber said. They include space for future businesses and concessions, along with green spaces and increased spaces for parking and boat launching.
Commissioner Mark Pusich said he liked the plan, but didn't see it addressing the problem with boat launching merely by adding a second launch site. "Getting in and out of the launch ramp is tough. Tensions are high."
Krieber said the designs will improve the turnaround on boat launching.
Commissioner Nancy Waterman asked about provisions for kayak launching.
Krieber said that aside from the potential for kayak rentals, he sees the harbor as being too congested.