Entiat Park rebirth
A new Entiat Park is coming.
ENTIAT — Work has progressed at the Entiat Park.
Trees have been pulled from the shoreline in anticipation of a remodeled recreational spot along the Columbia River.
The park, originally built in the 1970s is closed until Memorial Day in 2015.
Good for Entiat
Entiat was sacrificed. Its town center was drowned in the 1960s as the waters rose behind Rocky Reach Dam. Ever since it has been a community with great vitality, but a community in search of a focal point, a heart.
The heart is beating. This month they broke ground on a $7.3 million rebuilding of Entiat’s riverfront park. It will have campsites, a boat launch, a riverfront trail and a lifesize statue of Chilcosahaskt, the last chief of the Entiat tribe. The new park will jump-start Entiat’s own dream project of building a new commercial district closer to the original townsite. The project is a promise kept by the Chelan County PUD and its ratepayers, who still benefit from Entiat’s inundation.
The park rebuild is under way. It will take 18 months to complete. When finished it no doubt will be a worthy and very popular addition to the region’s recreational amenities, and a very good start for the new Entiat. It is very good to see.
This is the opinion of The Wenatchee World and its Editorial Board: Publisher Rufus Woods, Editor Cal FitzSimmons and Editorial Page Editor Tracy Warner.
Wilf Woods | A new Entiat park; we remember Arden Harris’s lumber mill in Ardenvoir
Entiat’s aging city park is due for a massive upgrade, more than $7 million, thanks to a Chelan PUD grant.
It was the late 1950s when Lake Entiat drowned the old town with the completion of Rocky Reach Dam.
As well as improved camping facilities and boat launch, a new sculpture of Entiat Chief Silico Saska will be dedicated there.
The current park was developed after the lake was formed, but is now at least 50 years old.
Back then the town was sustained by more than tourists and fruit, for it had a first-class lumber mill at Ardenvoir run by the Harris family.
Arden Harris was still active in the business when I joined him and several others on a pack trip to the upper Entiat, Ice Lakes and Larch Lakes in the mid-50s. A whole clan of related families, the Coopers, Lockwoods, Thomasons helped make the valley unique.
Digging up a new identity
Entiat High School cheerleaders at the ground -breaking ceremony for Entiat Park.
ENTIAT — Eighteen months from now, this Columbia River-side city will have the park it’s been lobbying for and dreaming about for the past decade. And with it, the beginning of a new identity.
“The park’s going to be the draw. Probably one of the biggest things for this community,” Entiat Mayor Keith Vradenburg said Tuesday evening as people around him lined up for chips and hotdogs alongside a glassy Columbia. Earth-moving equipment was already staged for the task ahead.
Tuesday’s ground-breaking ceremony kicks off an 18-month, $7.3 million project to transform the dated and overworked park where the crowd was standing into a fresh new recreational focal point, with new overnight campsites, an upgraded boat launch and a riverside pedestrian trail.
The Chelan County PUD is both funding the project and keeping a promise it made to the city, which has struggled for an identity since the early 1960s, when its old townsite was submerged in the Columbia, behind the newly constructed Rocky Reach Dam.
The park will enhance the city’s own efforts to build a main-street commercial district along the river’s shoreline to the north, complete with marina.
Vradenburg said two developers are nosing around the area, but want to wait until the park is finished before making commitments for projects that could include a convenience store, hotel and restaurant.
The park will remain closed for construction until Memorial Day weekend, 2015.
Central to the new park will be a dramatic metal sculpture, by Omak tribal artist Smoker Marchand, of Chilcosahaskt, the last chief of the Entiat people.
Chilcosahaskt remained in the valley, refusing to relocate to the Colville Indian Reservation at Nespelem.
Author and tribal elder Wendell George, the chief’s great grandson, directed the crowd Tuesday to face East, the source of the rising sun’s energy; then south, a source of emotional sensitivity; then west, to increase the function of the mind; and, finally, north, to take action, move, and take control of life — the perfect direction on the eve of a historic groundbreaking.
5/29/2012 9:34:00 AM
Entiat future starts soon in new downtown
Susan Driver, left, and Entiat Public Works Director Bob Whitehall look over the future site of the marina and waterfront development.
Mirror photo by Vince Lovato
An artist's rendition of Entiat's proposed waterfront walking mall.
Courtesy city of Entiat
The individual grants that directly affect Entiat are:
• Building a Marina on Lake Entiat
Entiat Grant Award: $200,000
The City of Entiat will use this grant to plan, design, and get permits to build a 40-slip marina on Lake Entiat, a reservoir of the Columbia River. This project is part of a larger waterfront redevelopment effort of the city's in partnership with the Port of Chelan County and the Chelan County Public Utility District. The marina will include a fueling area and pump-out station, and will be the only public marina on the lake. The City will contribute $100,000 from a local grant. This grant is from the Boating Facilities Program.
• Building the Entiat Waterfront Trail
Grant Award: $400,000
Entiat will use this grant to redevelop part of about 6 acres along the Columbia River and Lake Entiat. The City will develop a 1-mile waterfront trail; restore habitat along the shoreline; install trail lights, benches, and trash cans; and build a parking area, road, and restroom. The project will establish habitat along this shoreline of statewide significance, provide the public with access and views to the water, and create environmental and historical educational opportunities at viewing areas and with interpretive signs. The trail is part of a larger, planned project that ultimately will connect to form about 6 miles of continuous trail. The City will contribute $500,000 from local and state grants. The City received only part of the $500,000 it requested, and may receive additional funds if money from other projects is unused. This grant is from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
• Re-developing the Lake Entiat Shoreline
Grant Award: $500,000 Entiat will use this grant to re-develop about 6 acres along the Columbia River and Lake Entiat. This project will include design, permitting, and construction of 1 mile of trail along the shoreline as well as restoration of habitat along the shoreline. The trail will connect to others to create a network of 6 miles of trails. Crews also will install trail lighting, benches, and trash cans, and build a parking lot, access road, and a restroom. The City will contribute $500,000 from local and state grants. This grant is from the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account grant program. U.S. Forest Service, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Funding a Stewardship Crew Grant Awarded: $15,667 The Wenatchee River Ranger District will use this grant to fund a wilderness stewardship crew and crew leader to help maintain trails in the Alpine Lakes, Glacier Peak, and the Henry Jackson Wilderness Areas. This crew will do more targeted maintenance work. In the heavily used Enchantment Lakes area, the crew will maintain toilets, repair trail surfaces, and build rock cairns across areas of talus. In Glacier Peak Wilderness, the crew will remove noxious weeds at several infested trail heads. As portals to our nearly weed-free wilderness areas, hand pulling weeds at these sites is critical to the long-term ecological integrity of a vast area. The crew also will deal with a serious infestation of noxious weeds near Eight Mile Lake and at Trout Lake, where weed control has been ongoing for more than a dozen years. The ranger district will contribute $17,273 in cash and staff and donated labor. This grant is from the Recreational Trails Program.
• U.S. Forest Service, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Maintaining Campsites along the Entiat River
Grant Award: $67,953 The Entiat Ranger District will use this grant to maintain its campsites for two years. Crews daily will clean restrooms, pick up trash, and pump toilets. They also will repair campground facilities, such as picnic tables, bulletin boards, and sign, as well as clean fire rings and maintain hand water wells. The Entiat Ranger District provides eight campgrounds, more than 100 campsites dispersed throughout the district, and 350 miles of non-highway Forest Service roads. The Forest Service will contribute $50,000 in cash and donated labor. This grant is from the Nonhighway and Off-Road Vehicle Activities program.
• U.S. Forest Service, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Maintaining Entiat and Chelan Multiple Use Trails
Grant Award: $192,500 The Entiat Ranger District will use this grant to fund a three-person trail crew along with a seven-person AmeriCorps crew devoted solely to maintaining more than 195 miles of multiple-use trails and 11 trail heads, primarily used by motorcyclists and mountain bikers. Over two years, this grant will maintain more than 390 miles of trail in the Entiat and Chelan Ranger Districts. These trails serve as the heart of an interconnected trail network of more than 220 miles running from Lake Wenatchee to Lake Chelan. The crews will remove fallen trees, maintain water drainage structures to prevent erosion and excess trail damage, correct safety items, trim overgrown brush, clean and repair culverts, and maintain trail signs and bulletin boards. The Forest Service will contribute $74,000 in labor and donated labor. This grant is from the Non-highway and Off-Road Vehicle Activities program.
ENTIAT -- Entiat officials believe the soon-to-open Entiat Waterfront Business District will create jobs, a tax base and a new downtown for a city whose waterfront was twice wiped out by floods.
Though businesses are not yet under an official contract, they are interested in taking advantage of the 18-acre site under construction on the Lake Entiat shoreline, said Entiat Community Development Director, Susan Driver.
"It is possible that some of the businesses could be open by summer of 2013," Driver said. "This project will mean a number of things for the Entiat community. First, it will re-create a community gathering place - a kind of new downtown. Second, it will provide water access and amenities that will bring in tourism and improve the economy. Third, it will create local job opportunities in retail and hospitality services for local citizens. This will be the beginning of a rebirth for Entiat."
Entiat High School students looking for work may be able to find jobs at the new waterfront as early as next year.
"(The) number of jobs created is uncertain at this time," she said. "It will depend on which businesses locate first and what kind of staffing they intend to provide. Hiring would probably take place in the late spring."
Driver said two to four businesses could be open in 2013, with the waterfront opportunities expanding.
"We have no businesses under contract at this point, but are working on lease agreements with some establishments," she said. "Initial businesses we expect to see in 2013 will be recreation equipment rental, restaurant, and lodging."
But jobs will be created as the Entiat Waterfront Business District's begins building its infrastructure.
"Construction jobs will be the first to be created, starting in the fall of 2012," Driver said. "The city's basic infrastructure, including road, trail, utilities, and restrooms will be the first things to be constructed. Beginning in the spring of 2013, we expect to see construction of retail establishments."
The development of the Entiat Waterfront Business District began in early 2008 after Entiat residents and city planners met to discuss their ideas about the future business district. In Mid 2008, city leaders hired a consultant team to provide a build out plan.
A series of grants will pump about $1.1 million in to the Entiat economy to build and maintain public facilities and public water access designed to attract tourists and residents.
Joined by local matching funds and services, Entiat Mayor Keith Vradenburg hopes more grant money, and economic growth, is on the way.
The city will use the state grants to build a 40-slip marina on Lake Entiat, improve and link trails, and redevelop 6 acres of shoreline along the Columbia River, among other projects.
The money should mean short-term jobs for construction and long-term jobs and more residents, Vradenburg said.
"The expectation is that commercial development in the Waterfront Business District will follow the marina and trail construction fairly quickly," he said.
The area is zoned for hotel, restaurant, and small shops that will serve the water-oriented needs of the public, Vradenburg said.
"Housing developers we have spoken to are convinced that once the marina is in place, their developments will take off," he said. "We certainly hope they are right."
Development of a marina on the Columbia River is not funded but the $500,000 grant to help redevelop the area in the heart of the city should provide a foundation for private development, Vradenburg said.
The project includes design, permitting, and construction of 1/2 mile of trail along the shoreline and restoration of habitat along the shoreline, according to a report from Chelan County Natural Resource Director Mike Kaputa.
The trail will connect with others to create a network of 6 miles of trails. Crews will construct trail lighting, benches, a parking lot, an access road, a restroom and add trash cans. The city will add $500,000 from local and state grants, according to Kaputa's report.
The state Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account made the award.
City officials will use a $200,000 grant, with a $100,000 match from the Port of Chelan County District, to plan, design, and permit a 40-slip marina on Lake Entiat. The marina will include a fueling area and pump-out station, and will be the only public marina on the lake.
This project is part of a larger waterfront redevelopment effort of the city, the Port of Chelan County and the Chelan County Public Utility District, according to Kaputa's report.
Entiat will dedicate staff hours to these projects, but no cash, Vradenburg said.
"If the City had to match these grants with $200,000 of its own funds, these projects would simply not be possible," he said. "Over the last four years, the city has conscientiously solicited outside funding and spent thousands of dollars on grant writing and partnership development."
When the marina is constructed, which is not part of this funding, the city will either hire staff to manage it, or lease the facility to a management company. It is expected to require two seasonal employees, Vradenburg said.
"The waterfront redevelopment plan for Entiat will vastly improve the town as it occurs," said real estate broker Al Lorenz. "I expect it will take 10 years or more, but Entiat should be a destination for lots of folks at some point, rather than the little town between Wenatchee and Chelan."
Entiat worked hard to put itself in this position and continues to work on grant writing and partnership development, Vradenburg said.
Virtually all of the design and permitting money will be spent on jobs, along with half or more of the construction money, he said. Long-term, maintenance of this first phase will likely require one city staff person.
The city will immediately hire three separate consulting teams for different phases of the project, Vradenburg said.