The Oak Harbor pier project appears to be on the ropes, but city leaders owe it to a cadre of hard working pier supporters to make one last push to find funding for the project.
Oak Harbor hasn’t had a pier since the Maylor Dock burned in the 1960s. A modern pier would be a great asset to the city, giving tour boats and seaplanes a place to tie up, giving tourists a place to walk out over the water, and generally reconnect the city to its seafaring roots.
For years, a pier committee has been working to make the project a reality. Remarkably, almost all of the necessary construction permits have been obtained. That is no easy task. Some federal money has been received to design the pier, but we remain far short of the amount needed to build it. The initial estimate of $3 million rose to $6 million by 2006, and it’s no doubt even higher now given the inflation in the the construction industry.
Conceivably, about $500,000 in federal money could have to be repaid if the pier is never built. That’s another reason to make a final push to acquire the money, preferably from a federal transportation grant.
Rep. Rick Larsen supports the project but needs the total support of the city in a further lobbying effort. Despite rumors to the contrary, Congress will never give up funding worthy local projects, whether some consider them pork or not. Oak Harbor’s elected and civic leaders need to get organized on this, work closely with Larsen, and get the money we need to build the pier. It’s important to our future and we owe it to those who have worked so long and so diligently on the pier project for all these years.