By Meg Olson
Delays and higher than expected costs will mean a later opening for the boardwalk at Lighthouse Marine Park and the elimination of plans for new playground equipment.
“The boardwalk repairs consumed most of the budget,” said Rod Lamb, design and development supervisor with Whatcom County Park and Recreation.
“The available funding couldn’t support that and the playground,” he added.
In 2015, $250,000 was budgeted for replacing the rotten decking on a portion of the boardwalk while eliminating a portion of the structure. Plans included putting in at-grade picnic areas under existing covered areas, and adding in a new play structure close to the boardwalk and demolishing the disintegrating old play area.
Lamb said when construction crews removed the old boardwalk they found problems in the substructure that required reengineering for how posts were secured to concrete piers supporting the deck. The contract to complete the boardwalk was extended and is now set to be completed in March.
The increased costs for the boardwalk replacement were partly due to the needed improvements to the substructure, Lamb said, but were also due to escalating construction costs since the project was planned in 2014. “Quite frankly, we were pushing on some other projects and this one got delayed.”
The total cost of the boardwalk project will be $210,445, leaving less than $40,000 for the playground project. The cost of a new manufactured play system is approximately $50,000, Lamb said.
“We’re going to look at the existing play structure; it’s in really bad shape but we can reuse some components and use some as templates,” Lamb said. Plastic component panels would be manufactured in-house from the templates and the structure would be relocated near the boardwalk, adding some “nature-play” features.
In other county park news, Lamb reported from the operational side that crews had done some work on the eroding Monument Park trail last spring and would evaluate trail conditions again this spring.
As far as the plan to loop the Cedar Point trail at Lily Point Marine Park, Lamb said they would be looking for the best route in late winter or early spring. “One of the challenges this summer was really dry conditions and we needed to wait to locate the wetter areas we would need to avoid.”