The dock at the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport is under repair and is expected to be ready to host its tall ships in time for the Aberdeen Splash Festival in July.
The Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain have been mooring in Westport during their stops on Grays Harbor the past year as a hole in the decking of the dock at the Historical Seaport has made it unsafe for visitors to access the ships. About $60,000 has been put in to shore up the dock and make sure it’s ready for a return home by both tall ships and a more extended stay by the Lady Washington, said the Seaport’s Executive Director Brandi Bednarik.
The inland portion of the dock is built on fill, and the fill under the asphalt dock had been eroded away in part due to storm runoff and drainage issues, creating the hole, said Bednarik.
“We were just going to fill in the hole but we ended up filling all across the dock,” she said. Berglund Schmidt and Brumfield Construction have so far filled the length of a section of dock a couple feet across with gravel; it should be getting topped with asphalt in the next few weeks, said Bednarik. The stormwater issues will also be addressed.
The Seaport is further checking the dock by having the pilings on the river edge of the dock tested. Testing is still underway, but Bednarik said the first round of tests have shown the pilings appear to be in good shape, another good sign for the tall ships’ appearance at the Splash Festival.
Funding for the dock project came from three sources, said Bednarik: A $30,000 grant from the Grays Harbor Community Foundation, $15,000 from the City of Aberdeen, and an additional $10,000-$15,000 of Historical Seaport funds.
Bednarik added the plan is to have the Lady Washington, which normally winters in California, stay at the Historical Seaport this year, after returning from scheduled sails after the July 4 Splash Festival. The Seaport is planning several events for the fall, including a Haunted Seaport celebration in October. This will tentatively have a Harry Potter theme, and feature “ghost ship” excursions.
“We hope to have a lot of events,” said Bednarik, who is currently reaching out to potential community partners to put them on and wants the events to have a family theme, something everyone can enjoy.
This year marks the 30th birthday of the Lady Washington. As the vessel heads for other ports after the Splash Festival, a tentative celebration some time in September at the Historical Seaport is still up in the air as a number of factors can keep a tall ship from returning home by then, but an announcement of a celebration date will be made soon by the Seaport.
For more information on the Seaport, visit the Facebook page or historicalseaport.org.