The start of long-awaited improvements to the marina in Langley was cause enough for a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.
Since work was happening over the water, no effort was made to actually break ground but a proud group of 20 or more political leaders and community boosters gathered to gloat in their success. Also attending was contractor Mike Carlson of Mike Carlson Enterprises, and workers from subcontractor Neptune Marine.
Three elected officials spoke, perhaps setting a world record for the shortest speeches by a trio of politicians.
Port of South Whidbey President Curt Gordon, standing beside a schematic harbor display perched above the beach on an easel, briefly described the $2.4 million project and thanked Congressman Rick Larsen for helping get a crucial Army Corps of Engineers permit that was stuck in the gears of the bureaucratic hopper.
“We called in for help and all of a sudden paperwork started flowing,” Gordon said.
Larsen credited a couple of staff members for getting the Army Corps’ attention. “We helped the Corps see through their pile that this was ready to go,” he said.
Gordon credited the effort with allowing construction to start this year rather than next.
Both also pointed out that this is phase one of building an even larger marina.
“It’s great to be at this point,” Larsen said. “You can’t have a big league economy with little league infrastructure.”
County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson was credited with helping the port win a $1.2 million economic development grant. She recalled it was one of her first successes after taking office in 2009.
“This will have a ripple effect on the economy,” she added.
Lacking champagne, hors d’oeuvres or even a hot dog to share, Gordon brought the event to a close with a simple comment. “We’re under way now,” he said, glancing toward the harbor. “It’s going on right now.”
The crowd cheered and slowly dispersed.