Dream to dock

Posted on Feb 19, 2019 in accessible design, community, Gig Harbor

Dream to dock

By Brett Marlo DeSantis     February 2019

What better way to reward these active members of our community than through an all accessible non-motorized launching dock?

Close to the heart of our downtown, the Ancich Waterfront Park will be the home to a new publically-owned community paddlers dock! While this project is still in the design and permitting phase, we do know it will be a floating dock, eighty feet in length with a special low-profile design that keeps the platform consistently eight inches above the water at all tide levels. This will allow easier launching of non-motorized watercraft in Gig Harbor, such as: kayaks, canoes, stand up paddleboards, dragon boats, small sail boats, and other human-powered craft.

It will be fully ADA compliant and accessible, making it much easier for people with limited mobility issues to access the water than any of the current facilities in the greater Gig Harbor area. The dock offers a huge safety and comfort component, especially for families and people who don’t have a lot of experience.

As per the Ancich Park design, an ADA parking spot and designated loading and unloading zones will be located in front of the park. Both the view platform and the lower plaza level, are fully accessible, as well as the restrooms, a watercraft rinse station  and the boat storage building.

About half of the interior space of the boat storage building will be available to members of the public to rent a spot on a month-to-month basis to store kayaks, canoes or paddle boards; the other half will be leased by the Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Team, who has helped kick start a capital campaign to help raise money to fund the construction of the public dock.

The total cost of the project, including the design and permitting, is approximately 1.5 million dollars. The vision of the capital campaign committee is that this would be a coalition of community members that would come together to get the ball rolling; it would really be a community effort to get this project done. The campaign itself is looking to raise the funds within the next year and is currently pursuing private grants and private donors.

According to Kirsten Gregory, one of the campaign board of directors, “All permits will have to be submitted to federal and state entities. There’s a good chance that the permits will be granted prior to the July construction window of late summer/fall of this year. At this point, we are halfway through the design by PND, who also designed the Ancich boat storage building.” The dock will be fabricated offsite. There will be very little onsite construction time to drive pilings onsite and attach the pre-fabricated dock.

Gregory explains “one of the advantages of having human-powered water activity at Ancich Park versus at Skansie Park is that it will take paddlers out of the busiest park, and the busiest part of downtown Gig Harbor, and put it somewhere else where there is a loading and unloading zone, move it to a quieter end of the harbor where there is less boat traffic and also take it away from the public dock, where there is public moorage and you get a lot of transient moorage, people coming in and out, putting human powered watercraft in direct conflict on the same dock with motorized boat traffic.”

Alan Anderson, former Head Coach of GHCKRT, agrees “it’s a volatile situation at Skansie during the summer for yachts, drinking and all sorts going on, this will be much safer where you can launch and not have to worry about running into motorboats. I understand this is a one of a kind thing in this region for full access and accessibility to the water. This dock will give everyone in the community the chance to launch their personal watercraft and go out and see the harbor.”

With more safety and ease of access, the Ancich Park provides a much safer launch space for paddling enthusiasts. You can learn more about this project at communitypaddlersdock.org

“This community paddlers dock will be a first for Gig Harbor and will make our beautiful bay accessible to everyone.” —Kurt Grimmer, PenMet Parks Commissioner