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Harbor work starts city-port cooperation

Madhu Hudziak, owner of Massage at the Marina, believes Langley's Small Boat Harbor is a forgotten place.

"I spend a lot of time down here for my business," said the Langley massage therapist. "Phil Simon Park and the boat launch are in need of some work."

Hudziak and others who use the harbor will see some of those improvements this spring when the Port of South Whidbey does its first bit of work in territory that, until now, was maintained by the city of Langley.

The Port's three commissioners approved a preliminary plan last week to go ahead with some much-needed maintenance and repairs at Phil Simon Memorial Park and the boat launch. The plan will have the Port pay for asphalt paving and striping in the harbor parking lot at the park, and to overlay the crumbling boat ramp with 4 to 6 inches of concrete.

Hudziak approves of the project.

"Striping the parking lot to identify spaces is going to be a big improvement," she said. "People just park willy nilly at this point, and striping will mean more parking will be available."

The Port-financed project is expected to cost in the area of $70,000.

Port commissioners approved $6,000 for the first stage of the project, which includes coming up with engineering specifications, stormwater improvements and the permits needed for the project.

"These figures are rough estimates," said Tom Roehl, planning officer for the Port.

Roehl said the paving project and ramp cap are considered general repair and maintenance. The Port has no plans for major capital improvements at this point.

He did say, however, that the work is the first step in what could become a close partnership between the Port and the city. Roehl is currently drafting an interlocal agreement that would transfer management of the harbor to the Port. The city has been exploring this move for several years, because under Port management, the harbor will not be be billed by the state Department of Natural Resources for the lease of tidelands under harbor facilities. The city will pay about $7,300 in 2002 for the lease.

The commissioners voted unanimously for the improvements. The project is part of the Port's comprehensive plan.

Port Commissioner Gene Sears said the project is a priority, since the harbor gets most of its use during the summer.

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