Telescope Beach renovations underway

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By Steve Guntli

City construction crews are busy making improvements to Telescope Beach in Marine Park.

The Marine Park shoreline reconstruction and naturalization pilot project is a clean-up of the Marine Park beach between the shelter and tree headlands. Alex Wenger, Blaine deputy community planner, said the project would restore the beach and allow for easier access to the waterfront.

The project received a $50,000 grant from the Washington Department of Ecology’s (DOE) Terry Husseman account. The account was set up to fund projects with fees collected for water quality violations. The city has held the project for more than a year, waiting on permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) as well as the completion of an environmental impact review from the DOE. The final permits cleared on February 18.

The project will take approximately two to three weeks to complete. During that time, access to Telescope Beach will be restricted.

“We realize this is one of our best parks and a lot of people like to use it, so we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding,” Wenger said.

The city will be removing old chunks of concrete off the shore close to the telescope. The concrete was once the foundation of a cannery that operated in the late 1800s.

“The WDFW was adamant we get that concrete out of there,” Wenger said. “The parks board took a long time weighing the historical value, but in the end we felt rebuilding the beach was more important.”

The crumbling concrete blocks and rebar at the site also pose a safety concern, Wenger said. A machine called a concrete breaker will break down the concrete, a process which Wenger warns can be noisy. Boulders and sand will be installed. The city will also expand grassy areas near the shore and install native plants.

The city is using its own employees to perform the restoration. Doing so allowed the city to begin the project immediately while saving on the cost of hiring a contractor.

So far, the crew has laid out a temporary road through the park to allow heavy machinery easy access to the shore.

Wenger said the city administration will be actively seeking to improve the rest of the Marine Park shoreline in the future.

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