Monday, October 22, 2012

Spring 2012 - Project Updates and Meeting Summary

Steering Committee Meeting: May 10th, 2:30 PM, Assembly Chambers

  • Chris Mertl, Corvus Design
  • Don Beard, Tetra Tech Engineering
  • John Hudson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
  • Rachel Ford, Taiya Inlet Watershed Council (TIWC)
  • Darren Belisle, Alaska Power and Telephone (AP&T)
  • Jaime Bricker, White Pass and Yukon Route (WP&YR)
  • Mark Shaeffer, WP&YR, Municipality of Skagway (MOS) Assembly
  • Theresa Thibault, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (KLGO)
  • Paul Burger, KLGO

 Chris Mertl presented the refined preferred conceptual design and layout that included comments from the last public meeting. Also presented was a series of illustrations showing typical cross sections and elevations for the proposed trail, bridges, dripping platforms, and a variety of raised observation platforms (click here for these images, as assembled into final concept document). Drawing packages were provided. Don Beard gave input about technical engineering elements included in the StreamWalk. Based on walking the site earlier, Don and Chris provided the following comments that would have impact (positive or negative) to the design or the budget.

  • Excavation for trail placement could be minimal due to the characteristics of the landscape and existing sand/gravel, greatly reducing the budget. Local trail and building materials are available at low cost.
  • Can use pre-engineered bridges to replace the old footbridge downstream from Pullen Pond or to install new bridges along that same reach; however, manufacturing custom bridges could be more cost-effective.
  • In order to provide more space for pedestrians and a safe separation between the StreamWalk and railway in the vicinity of the green bridge, the StreamWalk needs to be moved away from the railroad tracks. The original plan was to cut off 8 feet of the green bridge and create more land adjacent Pullen Creek by using a vertical crib wall at the creek edge rather than the sloped crib system currently in place. It could be possible to pick the bridge up and move it away from the railway tracks, then extend the fence and add a gate for safety reasons.
  • Getting the local community involved in trail building, where possible, will save money and promote ownership of the trail.

Conceptual cost estimates of the various elements of the StreamWalk were presented. The costs were broken into the various zones and a per item cost. Spreadsheets of costs were provided. (click here for these info, as assembled into final concept document)

The design had positive and favorable acceptance. One concern from a member of the Committee was that the helical screws shown as boardwalk stabilizers have a tendency to get snapped in the drilling process due to the boulders and cobbles in the soil. Alternative approaches include use of treated wood footings or use of micropiles, which is a process that pumps grout into a drilled tube becoming a piling. The Committee also expressed that their desire was to see the entire construction design plans finalized before any construction began. This is in contrast to designing sections and then building them as the community prioritized.

Discussions since the last public meeting provided new information and resulted in some unresolved issues:

  • Work with WPYR, APT, and Robert Murphy about trail between the green bridge and the NPS property. WPYR and AP&T are willing participants but there has not yet been a conversation with Murphy about whether or not the StreamWalk can be incorporated into the recently abandoned right-of-way that is now under his private ownership.
  • Resolve questions about the area around the Penial Mission house. Possible land trade between landowner and NPS would change the existing plans to go through the Penial yard.
  • Land survey is needed to ensure trail accessibility and property limits.
  • Permitting for use of land. USFWS will be a large help on this issue.
  • Historical preservation of excavated sites. The proposed StreamWalk goes through a large undisturbed archeological site and the appropriate measures must be taken to comply with land use regulations. NPS will be the contact agency.
  • Agreements about maintenance of the trail
  • Portions of the historic Pullen homestead are up for sale and could be a significant asset to the project if the route can travel through portions of this property and add to the historic, cultural and environmental aspects of the StreamWalk as well as make easier access from the Moore homestead to the City Museum. Need to investigate what portions are available and if partnership for purchase is possible.
(photo above: From left to right, Kyle Rosendale, Mike Korsmo, Rachel Ford)

Public Meeting: May 10th, 6:00 PM, Chamber of Commerce

The design team (Corvus, Tetra Tech) and project leads (TIWC, USFWS) presented the same information at a public meeting and asked those present to discuss their priorities for the project. Members of the public were allowed to ‘vote’ on the various elements of the Draft Concept Plans (click here for the Draft) that they believed were the highest priority for the community in the establishment of a StreamWalk. Due to funding limitations, the project would require a phased approach.

The highest priorities selected by the public are as follows (click here to see these priorities, as assembled in the concept document):
  1. Provide an ADA accessible trail on north side of Pullen Pond from the Broadway Dock to the north side of Congress Way as the first segment.
  2. Create a gateway at Congress Way just north of Pullen Pond as an important place to draw in visitors who are coming off the Railroad Dock. Need to work with WPYR and Municipality to improve pedestrian safety, and reduce congestion and pedestrian confusion in this area. Could also benefit the StreamWalk by getting people to the north side of Congress Way and to the next segment of Pullen Creek and the existing StreamWalk.
  3. Improving the habitat and ecosystem in and around Pullen Pond and riparian restoration along entire creek
  4. Provide dipping platform and educational resources for children, both local and visiting.
  5. Replace existing footbridge downstream of Pullen Pond
  6. Provide two overlooks with interpretive signage in Zone 2
  7. Create gateway at beginning of Zone 1 a great place to grab visitors’ attention at the Broadway Dock.
  8. Provide one overlook with interpretive signage in Zone 1, if possible. Clean up vegetation to allow viewing into creek.
  9. Widen StreamWalk adjacent to the green bridge, move the bridge, and expand timber fence between StreamWalk and railway tracks. Provide pedestrian gate for those wanting to cross tracks and get to Dewey Lake trail.
  10. Improve existing unorganized pedestrian route in Zone 4 through the installation of a boardwalk that will provide connection to the Moore house as a natural place to end the first set of constructed elements. 

Steering Committee Meeting: May 11th, 8:30 AM, AP&T

The community priorities were presented to several Steering Committee Members the next morning. Present were representatives from KLGO, AP&T, and WP&YR. All members supported the list of priorities. Discussion topics of this meeting:

  • Who assumes liability for the trail once constructed? It liability would likely fall on MOS, who owns the final trail, but the landowners who allow for an easement for the trail will want to be clear about who is responsible for accidents. Partnership agreements may be a way to share responsibility.
  • Enhancing Pullen Pond for the local kids would be a great asset. A lot of energy is placed in developing tourist attractions, and it would be nice to put emphasis providing assets for Skagway’s children and also children who travel with parents.
  • What kind of wood does NPS use for handrails in the area? The StreamWalk should stay consistent with existing area infrastructure.
  • Need to coordinate with the Department of Transportation Gateway Project (Theresa is the NPS contact for that project).
  • Need to look at property for sale at Pullen Homestead and resolve possible access through Murphy property.

The next steps as planned by the Design Team:

  1. A report will be created that includes the conceptual design, refined preliminary budget, pictures of the existing conditions along Pullen Creek, and community priorities
  2. The report will be presented to the MOS assembly with letters of support from the Steering Committee entities. These members will be encouraged to speak at the assembly meeting in support of the project.
  3. It is hoped that the MOS Assembly will then give its support for the StreamWalk priorities and overall conceptual design.
  4. Once adopted/supported by Steering Committee and MOS the final product can be used to secure funding for the project.
  5. Funding so far:
    • USFWS and MOS have already committed $30,000 each for the design phase for priorities
    • Several grants have been submitted for construction but no approval yet. 

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