$479,287 to replace broken Percival Landing float by fall

In addition to replacement, project will add power ports for boats at F-Float

Staff writerFebruary 6, 2013 

The City of Olympia expects to spend as much as $479,287 to replace a float on Percival Landing that closed last month due to structural deterioration.

The city hopes to replace the so-called F-Float, along the boardwalk near the Harbor House, by this fall, said Kip Summers, project engineer. It accommodates about 12 to 15 boats, he said.

“It’s a collection of docks,” Summers said, and “we refer to the whole collection as F-Float.”

“F” stands for “finger” floats, said Scott River, recreation manager for the city’s parks department. There are two other collections of floats, closer to the Oyster House, which are called D-Float (for dining) and E-Float (electricity).

Summers said the city is hiring a consultant to design the new floats. He said officials hope to be finished with design in June and begin construction in August.

The project would add water and electrical ports to the F-Float. There have been no individual power ports for boats since 2004, when the city shut power to the E-Float after a structural assessment showed deterioration. Summers said the float is listing and sinking and “I would imagine it would break up and float away” if it’s not fixed.

He said that adding power is important for boaters, who can spend a week at the city docks.

“I think as an amenity to the city, I think you need to provide that water and power so that those boats will be more inclined to come down to Percival Landing and spend the night,” he said.

Boats can dock for free for up to four hours, but longer stays require moorage fees. Those range from $11 to $14 per night, depending on boat size.

Revenue has dropped from as high as about $15,000 to $18,000 per year to as low as $2,000 to $4,000 per year since power was cut to the E-Float.

Summers emphasized that the vessel pump-out facility will remain open during most of the work, but access will be from the water only. The D- and E-Floats will also remain open; they are due for replacement, too, but won’t be covered in this year’s round of work. It would cost about $5 million to replace all the floats, Summers said.

The original Percival Landing park’s boardwalk was built in three sections from 1978 to 1988, and the revamping addresses the oldest and most deteriorated section. The city had planned to replace the floats in phase two of the Percival Landing reconstruction. The city completed the $14 million first phase of reconstruction in 2011, which replaced the central section of the boardwalk and added the Harbor House and two pavilions.

But Mayor Stephen Buxbaum urged the council to move up replacements of the docks during a discussion of the 2013 budget in December. At the time, he noted the city planned to close the float in January.

“This is an issue of commerce,” he said at the meeting. “It’s an issue of supporting, I think, our most beloved events down on the waterfront. I want to make sure that the floats continue to be open.”

Other council members raised concerns about the late addition to the budget, but ultimately agreed to fund the project.

Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 mbatcheldor@ theolympian.com @mattbatcheldor

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