Over a decade ago, I was concerned about the lack of parking at Sandy Beach, Savikko Park and the Douglas Boat Harbor. Congestion was prevalent in the area when boaters, softball players, picnic goers and beach walkers vied for parking and access.
Last week, my family launched our boat from the new launch ramp at the Douglas Boat Harbor and most of the interim stage (west end) parking lot was filled. With anticipation of moorage float expansion that would double the berthing capacity in Douglas, I expect parking demand at proportionate capacity. Further, the sports participants and enthusiast now have sufficient parking adjacent to the softball field. The beach walkers and picnic goers now have places to park because they mainly gain access to Sandy Beach by driving. Also, the ice rink underway in Savikko Park will require parking space for a new sporting group. The vast parking areas are significant, but warranted. The Harbor Board and interested public have done a good job in planning ahead and obtaining user consensus, while providing a place for everyone.
I am appreciative of improvements to our community, and not only Douglas Harbor, but Harris Harbor and Auke Bay. It is intriguing to watch the progress. The similarity of construction at these sites gives further understanding of Alaska research and development applications used to economically help our area.
The new parking areas are possible due to the use of low-cost, treated timber and geotextile retaining walls. First used at Harris Harbor some years ago, this design has saved our community considerable funds over other ideas.
By using the latest technology, costs have been cut in half, and parking space doubled. Other benefits such as disposing of contaminated dredged soils from the Steamship Wharf have finally been made possible. The environmental use of encapsulated soils as upland fill in parking areas has saved funds. Sometimes in the initial stages of progress we fail to look in wonderment at solution. The aesthetics and constitution of a sound engineering design is the primary long-term benefit to users. Often, we do not understand or recognize these hidden contributions to our society.
I just want to say thank you to the Borough people responsible for improving the Juneau and Douglas harbors and upland areas through the use of ingenuity and the latest technology.
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