Port 2 wraps up budget, works on comp plan
November 28, 2019
Commissioners of Wahkiakum County Port District 2 last week adopted their 2020 budget, heard suggestions to work on two Westend properties and approved improvemets at two parks.
The commissioners approved a $1.05 million budget, highest in the district's history. This included a 1 percent increase in property taxes, which will raise $724.91 for a total levy of $72,490.92.
Port Manager Jeff Smith presented a draft update to the district's comprehensive plan.
According to the plan's Executive Summary, "The goals associated with this plan are to expand the recreational element, increase public access and use, and provide economic development at port-owned properties. The port-owned properties include Skamokawa Vista Park, Svensen Park and Boat Launch; Lockwood Landing [undeveloped land on East Little Island Road's Birnie Slough Shoreline--ed.] and Coffee Pot Island. County Line Park is operated by the port."
Commissioners plan to hold a public hearing on the plan at their Dec. 17 meeting. Copies of the plan are available through the port's office at Vista Park.
Commissioners heard suggestions for park development in western Wahkiakum County.
Altoona/Pillar Rock Road resident Kris Shade suggested the port work with bed and breakfast operaters along the road and owners of the Pillar Rock Cannery to develop tourist related activities there. He suggested establishing a landing along the river for riverboats and other craft that would allow access to the area, even if it were isolated by floods or high tides in the Grays River Valley.
"It's good to hear of a potential project in the Westend," said commission Chair Brian O'Connor.
"There are some legalities to consider," said Commissioner Lee Tischer. "The port would have to have ownership of the property."
Considerable discussion ensued, and Shade agreed to meet at another time with Port Attorney Time Hanigan and a commissioner to explore the suggestion further.
Port Commissioner Austin Burkhalter had the other suggestion--to develop park facilities near the Grays River Covered Bridge. Tischer and O'Connor agreed to explore the possibility.
Commissioners also authorized some construction and/or maintenance projects: Paving the Vista Park Access Road, $109,267; improving road access to riverfront tent sites, $6,079; replacing the Vista Park pagoda, $11,076, and repairing the handicapped fishing platform at County Line Park, estimated around $5,000.