Eddon Boat Waterfront Park expansion in jeopardy —

Eddon Boat Waterfront Park expansion in jeopardy

By Brett Davis
The Peninsula Gateway

The Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill President Barack Obama signed into law on July 6 is having an impact on Gig Harbor’s plans for expanding the Eddon Boat Waterfront Park.

The final bill passed by the conference committee and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate did not include a Senate-passed provision to fund the LWCF at $700 million per year for the next two years, and to reauthorize the program through 2022.

That means several Washington state projects, including the Eddon Boat Waterfront Park expansion, lost out on federal funding.

Plans called for the LWCF to fund $293,927 for a total project cost, including city matching funds of $651,055.

“We don’t have a project,” said Gig Harbor Historic Preservation Coordinator Lita Dawn Stanton.

As planned, the city would purchase two undeveloped waterfront parcels that would expand the historic Eddon Boat Waterfront Park with 167 new feet of low-bank waterfront for public access.

The project would add to an existing multi-use park that includes the historic Eddon boatyard cultural center, kayak launch, dock, open grassy area, beach and panoramic views of Gig Harbor Bay.

Located in the heart of Gig Harbor, the added waterfront properties would be suitable for fishing, kayaking, canoe sports and direct access to the waters of Puget Sound within close proximity to restaurants and existing recreation amenities.

Both parcels are currently posted for sale for private development.

“They’re the last undeveloped parcels along the waterfront that could provide wildlife habitat, more shoreline access for the public, a soft landing for watercraft, more beach access for viewing and expansion of the park along the walking view corridor,” Stanton said.

The LWCF federal match may come through in the appropriations process, but it will be an uphill battle, and even if it passes, it will only fund half of what the transportation bill would have funded, said Cynara Lilly, a Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition spokesperson.

The LWCF does not use taxpayer dollars, Lilly said. Instead, it uses funds generated by off-shore oil and gas royalties from oil companies that drill in the outer continental shelf.

Stanton held out some hope that future state funds would come through for the project, but she added that the Eddon Boat Waterfront Park expansion project is competing with others throughout the state for funding.

“If it ranks well against other projects, that funding makes it all happen,” she said. “It all depends on the budget.”

Reporter Brett Davis can be reached at 253-853-9243 or by email at brett.davis@gateline.com. Follow him on Twitter @gateway_brett.

Read the complete story at The Peninsula Gateway
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