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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
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Mason County Journal
July 3, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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July 3, 2014
 

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+ Thursday, July 3, 2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-9 ]i ort to pursue Sn,00lt :,n Harbor restoration By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun cam Shelton Harbor, at the southernmost point of Oakland Bay, has long been a working waterfront, its shoreline domi- nated by the Simpson Lumber Co.'s log mill for more than 100 years. The Port of Shelton plans to buy an unused portion of Simpson's land and tideflats, formerly used as a log dump, and work with partners to convert the land into a salt-marsh habitat. The land could end up looking much like the Theler Wetlands in Belfair, said port Engineering Manager Bran- don Palmer. "We've been talking about this for many years," Palmer said. The port is working with several lo- cal agencies to develop a 30 percent de- sign of the project, which will make the project eligible for a state Recreation Conservation Office (RCO) grant. The 30 percent design will cost the port $30,000, Simpson $37,000 and the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhance- ment Group $5,000. Project partners include Simpson Lumber, the Squaxin Island Tribe, the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhance- ment Group, the Mason Conservation District and consultant Anchor QEA. Palmer said the Squaxin Island Tribe would be the lead entity applying for grants from the RCO. In the first stage of the project, they plan to ask for a $1.8 million grant, Palmer said. The grant application is due by Aug. 15. The project would serve several functions for the port, he said. Buying the land would allow the port to build a new boat ramp for the adjacent Oakland Bay Marina. Also, a bulkhead at the log dump is in danger of failing, Palmer said, and releasing hazardous material into Oak- land Bay. Replacing the bulkhead would be expensive, and grant funds are limited for such a project, Palmer said. Instead, the project would add soil and other material, which would ef- fectively cap the contaminants, which include high levels of dioxin, a toxic chemical that is a by-product of certain manufacturing processes, including pa- per bleaching. "Either you dredge and remove con- taminants, or you encapsulate them," Palmer said. The project would then add plants native to salt marshes, which would improve salmon habitat at the estuary of Oakland Bay and Shelton and Golds- borough creeks. Palmer said the project could also include creating a pedestrian pathway from the Oakland Bay Marina to down- town Shelton. The project is not a restoration, Palmer said, because the land in ques- tion was never a salt marsh. Oakland Bay used to extend into present-day downtown Shelton, which was built on fill. However, the project will create a more natural shoreline than the exist- ing failing bulkhead, he said. The port originally hoped to acquire the log dump land, which is next to its Oakland Bay Marina parking lot, by trading with Simpson for port-owned land at Eagle Point. Palmer said the port now plans to sell its Eagle Point land to a land conservancy organiza- tion and use the money to buy the log dump. "(Eagle Point) is absolutely beauti- ful habitat, but not real useful for port purposes," Palmer said. Chamber seeks money for downtown 'visioning' project By GORDON WEEKS gordon@masoncoun cam The Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce is asking the city of Shelton for $25,000 to help hire a firm to create a "vision" for downtown, but one city commissioner is suggesting the group seek the money from downtown merchants. The chamber requested the money at the Shelton City Com- mission's work session on Mon- day. The organization proposes to pay $54,000 to Seattle-based Forterra -- formerly the Cascade Land Conservancy -- to help cre- ate "a complete downtown vision and a trajectory for improving our downtown business corri- dor," according to the request. Downtown businesses would contribute the remaining $29,000 for the project. Chamber Executive Director Heidi McCutcheon told the com- mission. Green Diamond Re- source Co. has already made a financial commitment, she said. The proposed work includes advice by experts in architec- ture and "walkability," and on getting downtown businesses and organizations to work to- gether. Build your own custom 6-pack of .... craft beers and SAVE i 0%! !i Build your own custom 6-pa& of wine and SAVE 10%! The plan could "create a vi- sion of Shelton of what we want to be when we grow up," Mc- Cutcheon said. Downtown Shelten is a dis- tinctive place with interesting architecture, "and we want it to be a cool place to hang out." Shelton Mayor Gary Cronce said many cities are turning to vision plans. "I like that we're getting an outside opinion ... an outside view on your city," Cronce said. He added, %Ve need a state- ment on who we are." Historical precedence says downtown Shelton will "need a boost" when a big develop- ment arises outside downtown, in this case the proposed 604- acre Shelton Hills development, Cronce said. 'We have a beautiful city," he said. "We have something to be proud of." Commissioner Mike Olsen said the creation of a vision plan is a good idea, but the city needs to see a '%uy-in" on the project. "I want to see a big commit- ment by the merchants, and not just Green Diamond," he said. "There will be a price tag to fulfill that vision," Olsen add- ed. If the city gets supportive "buy in" on the process, it in- creases the chances the city can get grants for the proposals, he said. Skye Schell of Forterra told the commission he agrees that some of the proposals will cost money to implement, and that a city vision plan could attract funding. But zoning and regula- tions can be changed to fit a vi- sion without costing money, he said. Cronce and Olsen said they want to talk about the propos- al with Commissioner Tracy Moore, who did not attend the meeting. THE LARG EST SELECTION OF BEER, LIQUOR & WINE ....... IN MASON COUNTY iiii iiiii !iiiii !il I1[li ........... II Iir .................................................................................................... YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, FAMILY RESTAURANTI Local foods prepared fresh daily by "Chef lan, in-house, with a Northwest flair!" 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