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City: Grants could build pier

"If everything goes as planned - and that's a big if - Oak Harbor will have a $4 million pier by the end of year 2002.And if the city's hopes pan out, the pier will be a stop for pedestrian-only ferry service to Everett and regular sight-seeing boats that bring in mobs of tourists spending fistfuls of dollars at shops in the revitalized downtown area.To get to that point, city staff and the Maylor Municipal Pier Committee have created a complex timetable of actions for the project. They outlined the timeline, along with the news about the city's monetary commitment to the pier project, for the City Council at a workshop Tuesday.City Planner Tom Burdett said the city recently received a $150,000 grant for design and permitting from the federal Surface Transportation Project fund, which is administered through the Island-Skagit Regional Transportation Planning Organization.Burdett said that by accepting the grant the city is committing itself to building the unique 300-foot, Y-shaped pier. He said that the grant comes with the condition that the city build the pier within 10 years or give the money back.In addition, Burdett said the city also hopes to get another $200,000 in STP grants by the end of this year, which comes with the same condition.To finance construction of the pier itself - which is estimated to cost $3.7 million - Burdett said the city will apply directly to the federal government for a grant aimed at alternative transportation methods. The grant will require a 13.5 percent local match, which will amount to about $500,000.He said there are other grants that may also be available, but this one seems like a good fit.Burdett said the city has talked about selling bonds to raise the money. Mayor Patty Cohen, who has given strong support to the project, said she hopes to discuss the financing of the pier in upcoming budget workshops.Under the timeline, Burdett said the city will undertake topographical and hydrographical surveys, do extensive sampling and testing of the sediment, complete the preliminary design of the dock and upland structures, and submit environmental information to the state by the end of the year.If the city receives the next $200,000 STP grant, Burdett said staff and the consultants can begin the complicated permitting process this December, start the bidding next summer and award the contract in the fall. He said construction would take about a year.Yet Burdett said a lot of things have to go right for all of that to happen. The city has to win the grants, find local funding, and most difficult of all, get all the needed permits from a maze of governmental agencies."

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