Wrangell Sentinel -


Port Commission moves on memorial, leasing, Tidelands


The Wrangell Ports & Harbors commission voted 4-0 three times Tuesday night.

Commissioners unanimously approved a no-bid professional services contract with Juneau’s Corvus Design. The vote means, pending approval by the borough assembly, port officials would repurpose approximately $11,372 of state money for the construction of floats and upland improvements for Heritage Harbor. About $24,000 would remain from those funds, any unused portion of which will be lost by June 30, if the assembly approved the contract, commissioners said.

The contract was designed as a no-bid to avoid a potentially lengthy bidding process which could cause the grant funds to become unavailable, commissioner Brennon Eagle told the board.

“This would be a formal design, both landscape and structural, of what would fit where on our Mariner’s Memorial,” he said. “To the best of my knowledge, this includes (Corvus artist Chris Mertl) coming to Wrangell twice to work with us in a workshop.”

The workshop would include meetings with commissioners and public, and would eventually move to a two final options, which the assembly would work with Mertl to meld into a final plan. This final plan for the memorial could include dollar amounts, potentially useful to obtain grant funds for construction.

The contract and the funds allocation will go before the assembly Jan. 14.

Commissioners rejected an extension for a lease to Jim Pritchett, which had already been granted an extension in order to avoid paying rent on a lot in the Marine Services Center while they weren’t working on improvements to it. The original lease was approved by the assembly in May, harbormaster Greg Meissner told the board. Leaseholders originally expected Nov. 20 to be the date for the leasing to start. Meissner allowed the start of the lease to be postponed to Dec. 1, and then Jan. 1 to coincide with New Year’s.

Pritchett told the board he could not obtain concrete for construction until March.

“Due to the building I’m putting up, it has to have a concrete foundation and the concrete payment won’t be open until March,” he said.

Commissioners were anxious to avoid the delay, which would postpone potential revenues for the Marine Services Center.

“I guess the concern I have is we have postponed this several times already, apparently,” said commissioner Clay Hammer.

An additional postponement could set the stage for additional delays, said commissioner John Yeager.

“My concern is the lot’s been sitting there empty, nothings been done,” he said. “What if we can’t get concrete out there in April?”

The amount covers two trips to Wrangell, including workshops with both the ports commission and the public, to be scheduled once the Assembly

Commissioners recommended a proposed sale of the Tidelands to David Svendsen. That proposal will go before the Planning and Zoning commission’s regular meeting, scheduled for Thursday, then heads to the Jan. 14 Borough Assembly meeting for a full vote.

The 300-ton boat lift could not arrive until late March or even early April, Meissner said. It will leave Italy in early February, with a possible arrival in Seattle sometime in early March, and a subsequent trip up to Wrangell.

“It’s on schedule,” he said.

The board also approved by unanimous consent increases in boat lift fees associated with the new device, though those fees will go to the city attorney for re-drafting into statutory language before coming back before the board for a first hearing.


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