Boardwalk design going public

Published on Thu, Jun 14, 2001
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Boardwalk design going public

by Meg Olson

With the initial design for a boardwalk in downtown Blaine almost finished, the city is selecting a structural engineer to take the project from concept to concrete.

“There are two phases to this kind of project,” said Blaine community economic development director Terry Galvin. “Design plans and construction plans. Somewhere in between, the architect and the structural engineer get together and look at what we have and how to make it structurally sound.”

Planning commissioner and local architectural designer Brad O’Neill got the project rolling by volunteering to draw up concept plans for a 350-foot boardwalk running behind the businesses on the water side of Peace Portal Drive. A survey of the projected site has been completed and geotechnical testing of the soils is now underway. The next step will be for a structural engineer to lay out the foundation and work with the architect towards a final design.

“Between the concept design and the construction design process we want to involve the community,” Galvin said. That process gets rolling next week at a meeting of owners of property adjacent to the proposed boardwalk. “We need to meet with those affected directly by the project because we need their cooperation,” Galvin said.

A series of town meetings are being planned to ask the community what they want, “so that we can include additional thoughts, design ideas and unforeseen difficulties,” Galvin said.

A combination of a $20,000 state coastal zone management grant and $17,000 in city business taxes make up the current budget for the project, which Galvin said should take the project to the brink of construction. “We hope to end up with plans in hand, ready to go,” he said. “The next stage is to go for additional funding through grants to allow us to proceed with construction.”

Touching on issues of coastal zone management and economic revitalization, Galvin said the project has all the qualities to make it a favorite in the race for state grants. “It has to do with public access and visual access, of which the state is very supportive,” he said.

O’Neill said he had seen other coastal towns lose their views of the water and with that the community’s ability to enjoy its natural heritage.

“In some places I’ve watched the waterscape completely disappear and I remember vowing to myself to protect this city from that,” he said. Once the public sees the concept design for the boardwalk, he’s confident it will generate enthusiasm for both the project and Blaine’s downtown.

“This is my last goal as a planning commissioner,” said O’Neill, now in the middle of his second six-year term, the maximum for planning commissioners to serve consecutively. “It is going to happen.”

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