Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Riverwalk Park improvements, shoreline restoration starts in March

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CHELAN – Starting March 4, Chelan Public Utility District will begin a project at Riverwalk Park aimed at restoring the shoreline and enhancing waterfront access for non-motorized recreation. The initiative is set to address three specific areas: near the sewer lift station between W. Okanogan Ave. and W. Wooden Ave., from the wooden viewing area at S. 1st St. and W. Okanogan Ave to the boardwalk west of Webster Ave., and across the parking lot at E. Farnham Ave.

Visitors of the park should anticipate temporary closures of the Riverwalk Trail during the construction period, which is expected to conclude in late April, weather and conditions permitting.

The project's focus is to stabilize approximately 520 feet of riverbank by introducing boulders, river cobble, native trees, and shrubs. This effort aims to protect the area against ongoing erosion, which is attributed to various factors including wind, reservoir fluctuations, boat wakes, and human activities.

Ryan Baker, Chelan PUD Parks Manager, highlighted the urgency of the project: “On the south shore especially, the bank has receded close to 20 feet, and that’s valuable park land we will never get back. We’re really excited to start this project.”

In addition to shoreline stabilization, the project will improve waterfront access for stand-up paddleboards (SUPs), canoes, and kayaks and will include the addition of new picnic tables and benches. A notable feature will be a flat-rock staircase leading into the water near the end of First Street. Upon completion, split-rail fencing will be installed to protect the rehabilitated shoreline, support the growth of native plantings, and direct visitors towards the enhanced access points.

Baker also emphasized the district's commitment to minimizing the project's impact: “We want to be good stewards of Riverwalk Park, and we’ll try to keep any short-term impacts of this work to a minimum. This is a well-loved park, and we want to thank the community for their patience.”

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