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Waterfront trail change pleases condo denizens

From the left, John Wallace, Shawn Carpenter, John Deir and Curtis Ashpy of LangCo Northwest Inc. pump concrete into wooden molds, forming the base of the waterfront trail. - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
From the left, John Wallace, Shawn Carpenter, John Deir and Curtis Ashpy of LangCo Northwest Inc. pump concrete into wooden molds, forming the base of the waterfront trail.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

Small changes to the construction of the waterfront trail improved the relationship between Waterside condo residents and the city from a hostile to a cooperative situation, said City Councilman Rick Almberg.

In early October, first-story condo resident Judy Norton hosted a meeting in her home to show Mayor Jim Slowik and the city engineers how the trail would affect her privacy.

“The meeting at Judy’s was about security, privacy and how to solve the issue for the lower units,” Almberg said.

Fred Walrath, a longtime waterfront property owner, proposed a possible fix for the privacy concerns: cut the retaining wall.

At first this option had been nixed because the wall was thought to provide protection against flooding. But after Walrath’s presentation, city engineers looked further into the matter and discovered that the wall was built to provide no such protection.

“The wall was not designed as a sea wall. It is a retaining wall,” Almberg said, adding that since the structure does not protect the condos from flooding, the Waterside Home Owners Association agreed to allow the city to cut into the cement wall, eliminating the need for a ramp, which would have added extra height to the walkway.

“It was Fred’s presentation to the association that turned that around, and eliminated the ramp,” he said.

On Thursday morning, Krieg Concrete Products Inc. and Concrete Northwest took advantage of the mild, autumn weather to pump high strength concrete into wooden forms, creating a base for the trail that will withstand the harsh salts of the marine environment.

This is impressive, said Almberg, because “we have two competing companies working together on this trail.”

And even more impressive, the cement is donated and the work is being done for free.

Chuck Krieg of Krieg Concrete Products Inc., was also on-site Thursday morning, overseeing the construction’s progress. Next week Concrete Northwest, another company that is supplying pro bono concrete for the project, will be on-site pumping concrete.

Once the concrete slabs are set, P and L General Contractors will work with Oak Harbor High School students to fabricate the boardwalk panels, which the city bought at a reduced price from Lumbermans/PROBuild.

“It’s a great opportunity for the students to learn and contribute to the community,” Almberg said.

Following the trail’s completion, Island Construction and C. Johnson Construction Inc. will provide the backfill, restoring the surrounding area.

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