February 22, 2018
Nicholas A. Johnson, The World
COQUILLE — After two years of planning and collecting funds the city the Coquille is waiting to hear back on a grant from the Oregon State Marine Board to replace the docks at Sturdivant Park along the Coquille River.
The project, with contingencies, will cost around $600,000. Coquille has already received $93,000 from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and $52,000 from the Port of Bandon. The missing amount of funds the city hopes to get through its grant with OSMB that grant being just over $250,000.
“This is a big ticket for what’s basically a Parks and Rec thing. However, it’s a big deal to Coquille to have that boat ramp and transient dock open and working because it brings a lot of people to town,” Public Works director for Coquille Kevin Urban said.
Oregon State Marine Board brought the project to the attention of the city when it looked into its stability in 2015. It reported back that most of the docks were end of life, end of service.
Urban said he’s not sure exactly how old the docks are, because he can’t find any documentation as to when they were built. However, he suspects they are around 25 years old.
Not all of the parts of the docks are bad. There are some aluminum sections that are still in good shape and will be used with the new docks.
The main issue with the old docks stems from how they were built. They were not built to accommodate rising tides as a result of heavy rains.
“The gangplank was solid at level, in other words it would go down but it wouldn’t go past a level height. So there were a couple of times when the water has gotten higher than that and it’s snapped,” Urban said.
The new plan will place floats under the gangplank so that it rises with the river.
If it elects to help fund the project there are certain things that the OSMB won’t pay for. For example, the new dock plan will have an area where folks can fish off the dock and OSMB is strictly involved with boating. Money donated by ODFW will go toward making the fishing section of the docks.
“Fish and Wildlife came through and said, ‘OK here’s that portion for people fishing off the docks’. People always did fish off those docks even though they weren’t supposed to. Every time a sign was put up that said ‘no fishing’ it disappeared very quickly. There’s probably a dozen of them at the bottom of the river,” Urban said.
OSMB has been working with the city since it first recognized that the docks need to be replaced back in 2015. They helped with planning and profiles as well as conducting surveys and finding cost estimates.
“They also helped put together the joint permit application for the Corps of Engineers and the Department of State Lands which is a huge long permit, it calls for so much technical information. The fella who did it at state marine board, he and his staff are just incredibly knowledgeable,” Urban said.
If all goes well construction on the docks should start this summer.
Aside from being popular place to fish on the Coquille River, the docks at Sturdivant Park are the access point for law enforcement when it needs to patrol the river.
Urban was very grateful for all the support he’s received from both government agencies and the public during the grant witting process.
If for some reason OSMB isn’t able to fund the grant for the docks, Urban will be looking for private donations to see the project through.
“It’s all crossed fingers at this point. I think it’s a strong grant, but you never can tell. OSMB has definitely been involved and I think they want to see the project through, but if it doesn’t happen we’ll just have to find another way. I’ve done that before and we’ll find a way to get it done,” Urban said.
The Sturdivant Park docks are currently the largest project the City of Coquille is working on.
“We have money, we have manpower, and we also have some materials that we can use for putting in the docks … We’re done with our plans, we’re done with our permitting, now we’re just trying t pull together our funding,” Urban said.
The Marine Board is funded by registration, title fees and marine fuel taxes paid by motorized boaters. No general fund tax dollars are used to support the agency or its programs. Boater-paid fees go back to boaters in the form of law enforcement services (on-the-water enforcement, training and equipment), education/outreach materials and boating access facility grants. The Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit program is dedicated funding to pay for border inspection stations, decontamination equipment, inspectors, and signage/outreach materials. For more information about the Marine Board and its programs, visit www.boatoregon.com.