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Port of Grapeview commissioner ranks projects

Parking lot surfaces a priority on the list

Port of Grapeview Commissioner Art Whitson closed out the fall by informing port officials of the list of maintenance projects and procedures he’s been compiling.

Whitson said he’s inventoried port assets whose sustainability needed to be addressed, including landscaping, the port bathroom building, the boat ramp and dock systems, the oil/water separator, inspection and maintenance of port signs and buoys, and parking lot surfaces on the ramp side of the port, which is primarily asphalt and concrete, and the other side, which is primarily gravel.

The maintenance procedures he’s been drawing up are checklists of steps designed to assess the port’s systems, Whitson said.

“Our predecessors and current volunteers have all been doing a great job, but you can’t rely on volunteers all the time,” Whitson said. “The good news is we’re in pretty good shape in a lot of ways.”

Whitson said fellow Commissioner Jean Farmer suggested the port’s landscaping be changed to require less maintenance, preferably by converting it into a drought-tolerant system, “which can still look nice,” with “dry beds” to help eliminate the need for irrigation.

“We’ll be heading in that direction starting next year,” said Whitson, who said certain irrigation systems would still need to be retained but could be largely phased out over the next few years.

Whitson said he was optimistic that the port could proceed into the bidding process with landscaping companies almost “right away.”

“It’s practically all ready to go,” Whitson said. “It’s just a matter of doing it.”

Whitson said he’s content to retain the bathroom building cleaners, and maintaining its mechanical and electrical systems, but he wishes to confer with them in order to break their work down into steps that can be repeated by others.

Whitson cited concerns he shared with the port’s Strategic Planning Advisory Committee over the dock because the shifting beach has left the floating dock “cockeyed,” placing stress on the gangplank.

Given that the floats don’t have lateral stiffening, Whitson said he worries about what might happen if the slope gets too extreme.

Regardless of whether stilts or a jacking system are employed, Whitson agreed with other commissioners that the port needs to move toward a solution, and he pledged to start that process.

Whitson also proposed using river rocks to eliminate the energy of the water down the ramp, because as the water hits the rocks, Whitson said they should dissipate the water’s energy, thereby reducing erosion.

When Farmer asked whether Whitson might have made too large of a list for himself, he shrugged off her concerns by pointing out how he’d color-coded his priorities within that list.

Whitson cited the parking lot surfaces as a priority, as he continues to develop his own methods to inspect them to determine if they’re failing.

“It’s really obvious in gravel parking lots, but with concrete or asphalt, it’s a little different story,” Whitson said. “I’ll do all the inspections for now, because I know how.”

Looking to the near future, Whitson’s goals are to start planning when to conduct intensive maintenance sessions in advance, “before things can become real problems,” and to draw up a calendar scheduling events such as when he and other port officials will be speaking to contractors.

Author Bio

Kirk Boxleitner, Reporter

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Shelton-Mason County Journal & Belfair Herald
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