A step in the right directionPublished 9:11pm Monday, November 4, 2013
The recent decision by the Washington City Council to appoint a Waterfront Advisory Committee and move toward changing how the city’s waterfront docks are managed should benefit the city, its residents and the area’s boating community.
The council made those moves during its Oct. 7 meeting. Those moves, once finalized, should result in a more-efficient operation of the waterfront docks so their full potential is realized.
The city will make the changes slowly to ensure a smooth transition.
In August, City Manager Brian Alligood told the council that staff recommends not implementing the recommended changes until the new dockmaster’s station (which includes pubic restrooms and bathrooms, showers and laundry facilities for boaters) is built at the west end of the Stewart Parkway promenade.
Establishing a separate budget for the city-owned docks is one recommendation developed by a panel composed of city officials and the chairman of the Washington Harbor District Alliance.
That recommendation — and the others — came after the City Council directed Alligood to review the previously adopted waterfront docks business plan with city staff and provide a recommendation to the council concerning a management plan. Alligood discussed the matter with John Rodman, city planner; Kristi Roberson, the city’s parks and recreation manager; Joe Taylor, chairman of the city’s Recreation Advisory Committee; and Chris Furlough, chairman of the Washington Harbor District Alliance.
In addition to recommendation of setting up a separate budget for the waterfront docks, the panel made these recommendations:
• Creation of a part-time dockmaster position to manage staff; market the docks and oversee facility maintenance. The dockmaster would report directly to Rodman.
• Reduction of part-time dock attendants to three positions with one working year-round, one
working seasonalIy and one working peak months.
• Creation of a five-member Waterfront Advisory Committee to advise and make recommendations to the dockmaster and Rodman. Committee members would include three at-large members selected by the council based on their boating experience and two members of the Washington Harbor District Alliance’s maritime committee.
The Waterfront Advisory Committee’s members should have some modicum of expertise in the marine industry and/or boating community. That expertise should be used to make the city’s docks as boater friendly as possible and, hopefully, generate revenue for the city instead of needing subsidies.
That expertise exists in Washington. It’s time to put that expertise to work for the betterment of the city and its waterfront.