Funds for pier tower, playground considered

Lodging tax funds would be used for Port Angeles projects

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles City Council will consider approving lodging tax funds for City Pier tower restoration and the rebuilding of the Dream Playground when it meets on Tuesday.

The council will conduct a hybrid meeting at 6 p.m. in the City Hall at 321 E. Fifth St. To join the meeting online, see https://www.cityofpa.us/984/Live-Virtual-Meetings. To listen only, call 1-844-992-4726 and enter access code 2555 713 2601.

The city Lodging Tax Advisory Committee on Friday recommended the allotments of $574,464 for City Pier tower repairs and $250,000 to help fund the rebuilding of the Dream Playground. Both requests for the city-owned properties cited their value in drawing tourists. Funding was recommended from excess capital and operating reserves in the city’s lodging tax fund.

If the council approves the recommendation, work by Quigg Bros., Inc. of Aberdeen would begin on the City Pier tower by mid-February with repairs to the lower column sections to be completed within a month. Tower painting would then begin by April 1 and be finished within four to six weeks, Quigg Bros. said in the city memo.

Dream Playground funds would augment those already donated by individuals and businesses after the playground in Erickson Park on Race Street in Port Angeles was destroyed in a fire on Dec. 20. A community build is tentatively planned between May 14-19, Steve Methner, president of the Dream Playground Foundation, said last month.

The amount needed for playground materials is estimated at $531,000. If insurance funding is received for the project, then lodging tax money would be returned, according to the city memo.

The total of $824,464 asked for the two projects would leave an estimated $732,353 in the lodging tax reserve fund, city staff said in an agenda memo.

Any unused or reimbursed amounts for these projects would be returned to the lodging tax fund.

City Pier

The tower, which soars 56 feet above City Pier, was closed to the public on Nov. 21 because it was considered unsafe after Sargent Engineers, Inc., of Olympia conducted an inspection in early November.

Most of the work needed on the tower is below the city pier deck.

“Generally, the View Tower is in good to fair condition above the pier deck with isolated areas of significant deterioration,” Sargent said in its report. “However, below the pier deck, the View Tower is in poor to critical condition.”

The mounting brackets that secure the observation deck to the in-water pylons below have deteriorated through being bathed in saltwater.

All the structural brackets are to be replaced by lifting the deck structure and securing the connecting members. The project also will require extensive environmental tenting and safeguards, engineering and inspection services, the city memo said.

The pricing quoted by Quigg Bros. is based on repair recommendations by Sargent engineers of Olympia. The original request cited $688,000 in funding needed for the project, but that was revised downward later.

Work already is in progress at the nearly 50-year-old City Pier but on another project. Safety railing is being replaced. The project is expected to be complete, with City Pier fully reopened, in May.

Playground

The Dream Playground was first built by volunteers in 2002 and refurbished again by volunteers as the Generation II Dream Playground in 2021. Volunteers already have lined up for the rebuild this spring.

Several organizations have put on fundraisers for the Dream Playground. The next one will be The Cedars at Dungeness Golf Tournament Fundraiser at 10 a.m. Feb. 26. The entry fee is $80. Registration is on the Port Angeles Dream Playground website at https://www.padreamplayground.org.

A 14-year-old boy was arrested shortly after the Dec. 20 blaze and has been charged with first-degree arson. A court hearing set today is to be for findings of fact, where questions regarding the facts of a case are decided.

Updates for the projects can be found on the city’s website at www.cityofpa.us/cityprojects.

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at leah.leach@peninsulanews.us.

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