Preliminary engineering to continue at Statter Harbor, DeHarts Marina

Posted: Sunday, October 03, 2010

Plans to rebuild and restructure the layout of Statter Harbor and DeHarts Marina moved forward Thursday evening.

The City and Borough of Juneau Docks and Habors Board approved further preliminary engineering services to get a better grip on the costs and schematics of the project. The engineering will look at options for joining new floats to old floats, conduits, field dock placement areas, the number of launch ramps and other elements.

Statter Harbor has congestion issues, so the current plans are to better divide the space and give different sectors their own areas. DeHarts is at the end of its useful life and the board isn't sure it will be able to find a solution before it sinks.

A meeting will be scheduled with DeHarts patrons - likely later in October - to explain what the plans are and what the backup plan is in the event DeHarts needs to be demolished before a new area can be built.

Funding is an issue for this project. The estimated cost for rebuilding DeHarts is $7.5 million. It serves 55 vessels and has 17 seasonal stall holders. A decision on whether DeHarts will be rebuilt nearly as-is hasn't been made. But the board could choose to expand and reconfigure Statter Harbor in a way that would reduce the number of patrons at DeHarts.

Citizen Bruce White said he was concerned about the current plan to designate an area in Statter Harbor and/or DeHarts Marina for whale watching boats. He suggested moving that operation out of the harbor to relieve congestion. He said the harbor would also benefit from having four launch lanes instead of two. White said boats hover or circle for up to a half hour before they can get out of the water, and the same is true for launching. He also suggested adding more space in the vicinity of the fuel pumps because of high usage.

White suggested moving the whale watching tours to the Douglas Boat Harbor since a launch ramp is established there and it's closer to the cruise ship docks.

"There are whales both north and south of town," he said, adding that it could be a seasonal floating dock that is removed in the off-season for protection. White said it would bring in more revenue for the floating dock and more revenue for year round patrons at Statter Harbor and Deharts Marina.

Dennis Watson asked the board if any consideration had been made to replace the chains at Statter Harbor. He said a study done about four years ago estimated it would cost around $2 million to replace the chains, but he hasn't seen any recent documentation that those will be replaced.

In other business, the board approved closing out Phase 1 of the Auke Bay loading facility project. Docks and Harbors received a new grant for Phase 2. However, all outstanding bills had to be paid for the first portion - which totaled $130,000.

Watson said in the initial planning of Phase 1, a swing arm and credit card access were supposed to be part of it so the dock could be monitored.

"I went through the notes and couldn't see where it had been taken out," he said. "I'm asking why the facility you spent $7 million on has not yet been secured?"

Port Director John Stone said a gate will be built as an alternative because they didn't have funding for a swing arm. The gate will allow them to close access to Auke Bay as needed. He said key passes aren't going to be put in at this time because of a potential issue with them going down.

The board also approved:

• Entering into negotiations with the owners of the Archipelago property.

• A contract for engineering and design of the cruise ship terminal staging area.

• Contact Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.



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