Construction at Crescent Bar to be completed this year

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EPHRATA — The final phase of improvements to recreation facilities at Crescent Bar is scheduled for 2018, and when it’s done, the Grant County PUD is done with major recreation improvements, at least for the time being.

Public lands and recreation manager Shannon Lowry updated PUD commissioners on what happened in 2017 and what’s planned for 2018 at the regular commission meeting Tuesday.

Lowry said the Chinook Park day use and marina at Crescent Bar were completed; so was the walking trail at the Crescent Bar Recreation Area and the Riverbend campground and day use area. Those were opened to the public during the summer, she said.

The first phase of the new water system was also completed in 2017, she said, with the final phase scheduled for 2018. The wastewater treatment system is also in need of updating, and that work also is scheduled for 2018. The agreement reached with Crescent Bar leaseholders includes a provision that the leaseholder groups will pay the majority of costs to upgrade the water and wastewater treatment systems.

Utility district workers removed lawns and shoreline structures that encroached on the PUD’s shoreline land in 2017, Lowry said. There was shoreline restoration work near Sunland Estates near Quincy.

Utility district officials had planned to upgrade the lower boat launch at Wanapum Dam, but that project has been delayed until 2020-21, Lowry said.

Total estimated cost of capital projects in recreation in 2017 was $17.3 million. Total cost to operate and maintain the PUD’s recreation facilities was $1.2 million. Lowry said operation and maintenance costs were lower than anticipated. “The primary driver of that is that when we budgeted for Crescent Bar, we didn’t consider the offset in the revenues that we received.”

“That wasn’t revenue to us,” said PUD general manager Kevin Nordt, and Lowry said it was money earned by the company managing the properties for the PUD. The management company reduced the amount it billed to the PUD, Lowry said.

“We’re heading out of capital construction” in 2018, Lowry said. What’s left is at Crescent Bar – finishing the Riverbend boat launch and parking lot, the water and wastewater treatment systems.

Utility district officials will be doing some research in 2018 to see who’s using the recreation facilities, Lowry said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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