Delay for $2M Old Town Dock rehab?

A plan under way to spend $2 million to rehabilitate Tacoma’s Old Town Dock could be delayed, according to city officials.

“Public Works Director Dick McKinley reports the City was notified that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has decided that the Old Town Dock project should undergo a ‘formal consultation’ regarding compliance with Federal environmental regulations,” wrote interim City Manager Rey Arellano his Nov. 24 weekly report to Tacoma City Council. “Public Works is trying to find out why this determination was made, and will share additional information as it is available. At this point, it will likely mean that the project will now become a 2013 project rather than a 2012 project, and more of the project budget will be consumed by the regulatory/permit process.”

The wooden pier, which is located at 2123 Schuster Parkway and juts out from Schuster Parkway into Commencement Bay, has been a hub for a variety of recreational activities. Three years ago, however, the 137-year-old dock, which is owned by the City of Tacoma and maintained by Metro Parks Tacoma, was closed to visitors after the City’s public works department deemed it a danger to visitors. The deck had deteriorated and the lack of a handrail made it a public safety concern. In 2009, underwater inspections revealed structural deficiencies. Last year, a public meeting was held in Old Town to share the results of a structural survey that aimed to assist in the repairs and modifications required to reopen the dock and outline the next steps. A five-person advisory group was created to guide the process. Two assessments were completed to determine the extent of damage and establish a project budget. Later that year, Tacoma City Council awarded a $319,000 contract to Reid Middleton to perform design, permitting, and construction support services for the repairs. The City contributed $159,500; Metro Parks contributed $159,500. Last month, Tacoma City Council approved an additional $30,890 toward the project to cover additional design services.