City contract helps kayak club

Government: Council gives temporary space on Jerisich Dock to local racing team

of the GatewayDecember 25, 2013 

Alan Anderson, head coach of the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team, helps load a kayak on a new rack.

KAREN MILLER/GATEWAY PHOTO

Just over the fence from its old home at Pleasurecraft Marina, the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team assembled aluminum racks for vessels on Jerisich Dock on a misty Saturday morning.

Head coach Alan Anderson said the club grew too big for its former space, and the club was evicted in early September. Anderson went looking for a home, and the city helped out.

The plan is for the club to move to Ancich Dock, once the park is renovated. For now, the boats are at Skansie Brothers Park.

“We are in a real fix,” Anderson said of the musical chairs on the harbor.

The spot on the dock is temporary, leased to the club from the city.

The new racks were crafted by Bates Technical College, where Jim Behee teaches a night welding class. Some of his students volunteered their time Saturday to help install the racks.

“They want to see it done,” Behee said.

Each rack is built to store 30 vessels. Behee knew it was a special project.

“If the public’s going to see it, it better be consistent with my work standards,” he said.

The racks will be portable, and the club will be able to move them, depending on the time of year and events on the dock.

A parent group, the Site Compliance Committee, is in place to make sure the racks obey the parameters of the agreement, Anderson said.

In fact, the club aims to go above and beyond. Part of the team training involves picking up trash in the bay, Anderson said. At low tide four times a year, rowers clean the tidelands.

The Gig Harbor City Council signed a facility-use agreement with the club at its Dec. 9 meeting. When the council first discussed it Nov. 25, council member Derek Young said the club served a public good and, therefore, should not be charged high rent.

“This is pretty common ... when there’s perceived public benefit,” Young said.

When Ancich Park is complete, there will be space for human-powered craft. In the meantime, Jerisich Dock is home.

The club is for rowers ages 9 to 18. It has won several national championships and also includes a parakayaking program.

Working with Behee’s class kept costs down for the club, Anderson said. He added that, although the club is using public space, it doesn’t want to intrude.

“There’s no way I want to overwhelm the park,” Anderson said. “I don’t want to hurt the community.”

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