KENAI (AP) -- A plan calls for adding hundreds of boat slips to the Seward Small Boat Harbor as well as improving services for boaters, city officials say.
City officials hope the plan will reduce a long waiting list for slips and improve services to residents and visitors seeking access to Resurrection Bay, Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords National Park.
The idea, called the East Harbor Expansion Project, is part of the city's ongoing effort to write a master plan for the entire harbor area, including uplands.
Several areas are being looked at, including parking, repair grids, fire protection, cart parks, utilities, upland storage, off-float gear storage and fish-cleaning stations.
Planning efforts are being coordinated with the Alaska Railroad Corporation, which owns uplands on the north end of the harbor.
Seward city officials are expected to seek federal funds for dredging operations in the entrance channel and for construction of new breakwaters.
Seward would develop and fund new floats and upland facilities.
''We'd like to add close to 300 more slips if we could,'' said Carl Stormer, project manager and an engineer with Tryck Nyman Hayes Inc. of Anchorage, the company hired by Seward to develop the master plan.
The harbor currently has 500 slips. Some 395 boaters are on a harbor slip waiting list. Most of the boats in the harbor and much of the wait list are comprised of boaters from Seward and Anchorage.
''There are two fleets that need to be satisfied,'' Stormer said. ''First, there's the recreational fleet, which takes care of the smaller slips in the 32-, 40- and 50-foot range. Then you have the commercial fleet in the 60- to 120-foot range. They need both linear moorage and dock space.''
The Seward Small Boat Harbor first went into operation in the early 1930s. The harbor was destroyed in the 1964 earthquake.
Restoration of the basin and breakwater construction began in August of that same year, and replacement floats were added over the next several years. In 1999, the state turned over ownership of the harbor to the city.
Earlier this month, area residents and others were sent an eight-page questionnaire on how to improve the harbor.
Public workshops are planned in Anchorage on Dec. 16 and Seward on Dec. 18 to encourage public participation in the planning process.
The master plan will be developed over the winter. A draft is to be submitted to the city in April and council approval is tentatively scheduled for May.
On the Net: www.cityofseward.net/harbor/default.html.
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