Scott Echols and his 7-year-old son, Jacob, were some of the first anglers in town to catch a fish from a new floating dock alongside the fish hatchery on Channel Drive.
"It's a great platform to catch fish off of. It's first class, a nice contribution to the community," said Scott Echols, who ate the day's catch - a dog salmon - for lunch on Monday.
The float opened to the public Sunday, although the parking areas remain closed as work winds down, said Trucano Construction president Doug Trucano. His company is the primary contractor on the state project.
"If they want to walk down and fish they are more than welcome to do so. It should be complete by the end of the week," Trucano said. "The best part of the whole project is watching the young folks. I wanted to get it open so they could enjoy it through the weekend."
The project includes a parking lot by the barge landing, a pavilion area, a restroom, a handicapped-accessible ramp, the floating dock and about 20 parallel parking spaces, said Soc Kreuzenstein, Southeast construction project manager with the state Department of Transportation.
Work continues this week on landscaping, concrete work, picnic tables and barbecue pits, he said. Road work on Channel Drive and sewer improvements in the area are separate projects, he added.
Funding for the $1.75 million park came from the Federal Highway Administration. The state will turn over the park to the city when it is complete. The project, which started in January, is on time and on budget, Kreuzenstein said.
The city Docks and Harbors Department will operate and maintain the new Channel Wayside Park. Costs for upkeep, water, sewer and garbage pickup could cost about $50,000 a year, City Port Director Joe Graham said.
"We think it will be one of the premiere locations in the community for recreation. It provides young people a real outlet," he said.
Justin Brink, 10, of Juneau used to fish off the former dock next to the Douglas Island Pink and Chum hatchery on Channel Drive. He was using a spinner to fish for humpies and kings from the new float on Monday.
"It's pretty cool," he said. "This one's a lot better. A lot bigger."
Rhapsody of the Seas passengers Kristine Keller and John Keller of Fort Myers, Fla., heard about the fishing platform from locals and decided to give it a try on Monday.
"There are tons of salmon," Kristine Keller said.
The weather was a little wetter and cooler than Florida, John Keller added.
"It's a nice setup," he said.
Joanna Markell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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