Small boat harbor to get long-awaited upgrade
Wheels are in motion to upgrade Robert Storrs Small Boat Harbor in Unalaska, a project that has been in the works for more than a decade.
The harbor behind UniSea serves boats under 60 feet, and it currently provides moorage for about 70 vessels. The proposed plan would add about 40 slips, as well as increased parking and a public restroom.
Port Director Peggy McLaughlin is managing the project. She says it’s especially important because Storrs Harbor is the only Unalaska harbor designed for local recreational vessels.
“This is really the only harbor we have for the community itself,” McLaughlin said at a city council meeting Tuesday night.
Upgrading the harbor has been on the city’s Capital and Major Maintenance Plan since 2012. McLaughlin said that now, “systems are failing, and failing beyond what can be permanently repaired.”
All present city council members voiced support for the project at Tuesday’s meeting. Councilmember Shari Coleman echoed McLaughlin’s sentiment about it being the only harbor for locals.
“We’re the number one fishing port in the nation and you don't even have a place to put your boat,” Coleman said.
The council invited community members to provide input, and said they welcome requests from residents for what kinds of details they’d want in the facilities.
One community member, Travis Swangel, joined the meeting to voice his support for the project.
“We're a community that's deeply connected to the water. And in 27 years living here, I've watched the local boat population grow,” Swangel said. “I think this is a good opportunity to pursue the local connection with the water by building more slips for small boats, as well as visitors coming here. This upgrade would be a significant improvement to our community.”
The ports department is applying for grant matching, and invites community input before the deadline on Aug. 5.