June 22, 2019 — The Fourth of July is 11 days away and the race to safely stage the much-anticipated holiday fire-works display is on. The fireworks component of the annual event was in jeopardy this year when the original plans to launch the fireworks from a barge on the river fell through. The Port of Siuslaw stepped in with an offer to provide a legal, approved staging area for the display. This decision has impacted projects taking place at Port facilities by changing the original completion dates due to the need to divert personnel from their regular duties to finish the improvements as quickly as possible.
Port Manager David Huntington made the decision to offer space to the Chamber believing his team would be able to complete the “C-Row” installation and also prepare the space needed to meet the city requirements for the legal, safe launching of the Fourth of July fireworks.
Huntington updated Port Commissioners on the progress of the renovations and the preparation for the Fourth of July festivities during the June 19 Port of Siuslaw Commissioners meeting.
Huntington reported to Commissioners he was confident that other work being done will be finished in time for the festivities on the Fourth. He also said that while some obstacles to completion remain, primarily related to waste water removal, these can be easily addressed.
“It is coming together quicker than expected, we would be done tomorrow if everything went as planned. I had Stu from Chuck’s Plumbing come out today and he put a laser on [the water and sewer lines] and we are not going make that grade…We are going to need to get a lift station to meet city code and we didn’t figure in our Wi-Fi for back there, so I’d like to transfer $20,000. But I’m not saying it’s going to cost that much,” Huntington added. “I’m sure we won’t spend that amount, but it’s probably going to be an additional $5,000 for the lift pump and we are going to be at another $3,000 to $4,000 for the Wi-Fi, with the antennas and the poles and the connections.”
Huntington than submitted the resolution requesting the Commissioners to authorize the transfer of funds to cover the cost overruns related to the installation of the Wi-Fi equipment and the upgrade to the wastewater removal system.
Board President Terry Duman commented on Huntington’s request after the authorization to transfer funds had been unanimously approved.
“We talked about this from the start. There were going to be pitfalls and unexpected and unforeseen issues, but I think our schedule of doing it at the time we are doing it is going to pay off,” Duman said.
The Port of Siuslaw is currently engaged in a major upgrade to one of the most desirable locations in the campground known as the “C-Row.” The plan is to improve the amenities available to campers at 16 new full-service spots located on the “C-Row,” which is situated on the northern bank of the Siuslaw River.
The spots provide unique opportunities for photographers, birders, fisherman and recreational boaters, allowing them unfettered access to the Siuslaw River.
The cost for these upgrades is substantial, approaching $100,000, but the projected revenue generated by the anticipated increase in rental revenue would pay for the improvements in 2-3 years.
The decision to provide the Chamber with a staging area for the fireworks show happened to coincide with the planned improvements to the new RV sites that will now be equipped with electric, water and sewer connections.
The trenches, conduits and electrical connections which are needed to provide these additional services must be installed in a particular manner and be in compliance with city codes.
The stringent conditions for city approval, while intended to set a standard for service providers and a protection for consumers, can also be expensive and time consuming.
The decision to begin the upgrade to the “C-Row” had been approved before Huntington stepped in to help save the city’s Fourth of July celebration, but at this time the progress on the upgrade has been good and all the work being done should be completed in a week or so.
“The staging area for the Fireworks, which is at the east end of the gravel storage area, is ready for the fireworks show and the progress on the sites on C-Row is good,” Huntington said.
“We are completely done with the electric today and we will have our inspection next Wednesday [June 26] on the sewer lines. Then we will finish the gravel and landscaping, probably late next week and we will have the sites on the C-Row open on July 5.”
The Port Commissioners also unanimously approved an operating budget of $2,981,523 for fiscal years 2019-2020 during the meeting. The commissioners then discussed future plans to clarify the language related to the fees and requirements for storage of commercial equipment on Port property.
The next Port of Siuslaw Commissioners meeting will be held at Port offices on July 17, at 7 p.m.