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City of Seldovia working on grant to replace Jakolof Bay dock

Seldovia Mayor Jeremiah Campbell said the community currently has just one police officer who’s on call 24/7 and also serves as chief of police for the community’s 400 year-round residents.
Hope McKenney
/
KBBI
The Jakolof Bay dock is one of two points of access for Seldovia, and is at the end of its usable life.

The Jakolof Bay Boat Dock has been a transportation hub for Seldovia residents since 1977, and a long due replacement is in the works.

The City of Seldovia is working on the next steps following the U.S Department of Transportation Maritime Administration, or MARAD, releasing an intent to award a grant to replace the city’s boat dock in Jakolof Bay.

The dock replacement is one of seven projects MARAD intends to award grants to in Alaska. If a contract is secured, the city would receive $2,376,646 in federal funding to complete this project.

Seldovia City Manager Heidi Geagel said a conditional assessment in 2021 determined the dock had roughly three to five years of usability left, which led her to apply for grant funding for its replacement. The full project includes replacing many parts of the dock.

“The replacement includes all of the floats including bull rails, decking, and substructure, all the cleats, and then replacement of the dock itself, including the rotting timber frames, and the guide piles,” she said.

She said the dock serves as an important access point for residents to reach Homer for medical supplies, as well as for recreation in the surrounding area.

“This is a priority for the city of Seldovia and that it's a really important infrastructure and access in and out of the community,” she said, “and we are working hard to move through this grant process and then eventually the construction process.”

However, the city still has a long way to go before they can receive funding. The rest of the process includes an environmental review, obtaining a letter of commitment from the city and creating a grant agreement.

The environmental review follows the National Environmental Policy Act. Because the project involves work in water, the city also needs a consultation with the National Marine Fishery Service. The letter of commitment shows the amount of money the city is bringing to the project.

In this case, Geagel said the city committed $140,000 to the project. The funding comes from money from the state when they transferred ownership of the dock to the city in 2008.

“Those funds are there and available as we work through this grant process to help support the project,” she said.

The grant agreement itself includes the project’s scope, schedule and budget.

Peter Simons is a supervisory transportation specialist for the Office of Port Infrastructure Development. He said the city’s initial application was well written and identified many of the components the agreement asked for.

“The budget is very thorough, based upon a preliminary engineering estimate, which we always like to see. And so I don't anticipate they'll be seeing a lot of work associated with that,” he said.

The amount of time it takes to create and approve the actual grant agreement document varies, and the environmental review takes up a large part of the time. Simons said he expects this agreement will take 12 to 18 months.

Jamie Diep is a reporter/host for KBBI from Portland, Oregon. They joined KBBI right after getting a degree in music and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. They’ve built a strong passion for public radio through their work with OPB in Portland and the Here I Stand Project in Taipei, Taiwan.Jamie covers everything related to Homer and the Kenai Peninsula, and they’re particularly interested in education and environmental reporting. You can reach them at jamie@kbbi.org to send story ideas.