Piecing together the boardwalk

2011-03-31T11:00:00Z 2011-03-31T11:08:27Z Piecing together the boardwalkBy Nate Traylor , The World Coos Bay World
March 31, 2011 11:00 am  • 

COOS BAY -- A waterfront walkway spanning about four miles.

The cost: Likely millions of dollars.

How it will come together: Over time, piece by piece.

The Coos Waterfront Walkway Partnership gathered input Wednesday from citizens on a proposal to connect the dots between the Coos Bay and North Bend boardwalks.

So, what do folks want to see?

Wind shelters, restaurants, art, walking tours, lights, interpretive signs, green space and a bay stocked with salmon, among other attractions.

Formed in 2008, the walkway partnership comprises city, tribal and nonprofit-organization leaders who envision recreational amenities along the water's edge.

It soon will write a master plan, with the community's two cents' worth, for what it hopes will be a major attraction for locals and visitors alike.

Make it genuine

But Anne Donnelly of the Coos Historical & Maritime Museum has a word of caution:

'We don't want a cutesy waterfront," said the museum's executive director. 'All the real stuff remains real."

In other words: Nothing planned will interfere with the harbor's working nature. The boardwalk expansion intends to highlight it, giving walkers an upfront view of ship activities.

Jennifer Groth, Coos Bay city councilor and walkway partnership coordinator, says the pedestrian feature will develop along with several projects along the bay.

The museum's planned waterfront center and the Coquille Indian Tribe's developing property will be integral links.

The chips are down

That leaves only a stretch between Newmark Street and Ivy Avenue to configure, though the walkway must detour around private businesses and chip terminals that might lead strollers through several residential blocks near U.S. Highway 101.

Groth estimates the project will be complete in 10-20 years.

The prospect of a city-to-city waterside trail has enticed Coos Bay resident Jeanne Woods. She was one of more than a dozen who peered at the proposed walkway on a map of the bay stretched across cafeteria tables Wednesday at Blossom Gulch Elementary School.

'Coos Bay needs visionaries," Woods said.

'I think it would be a great draw for tourists. We need to pull people into town."

Clang! Clang! Clang!

Woods' vision goes beyond a mere walkway. She's thinking San Francisco-style streetcars, too.

Groth said a lunchtime crowd at Southwestern Oregon Community College had a few interesting suggestions as well, like a boardwalk skateboard park.

And why not dream big?

'We're not ruling anything out at this point," Groth said.

What's it going to take to get this thing off the ground?

Folks on their feet, joining in.

'You're seeing that here," said Dan Miller.

He's with the National Parks Service's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program, which is providing a grant of technical assistance for the boardwalk's plan.

The project also will need a group committed to shaping a vision, chasing grants, and seeing this to fruition, said Miller.

'You're seeing that here, too."

Reporter Nate Traylor can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 236; or at ntraylor@theworldlink.com.

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(3) Comments

  1. Report Abuse
    - March 31, 2011 7:05 pm
    Genknee Growth from da board, dream bigger, dream a skate park in Disneyland by the Blighted Bay. Cotton candy, cornballs & hot dogs on a stick. Close your eyes & imagine kids screaming & laughing as the roller coaster whips by the greasy spoons populating the boardwalk. Ahhh the aroma of 28 day old grease oozing out on hot windblown blacktop. Can you feel it? I sure can & I am sitting down. The Injuns have permission to smoke peyote at their pow wows, spark some up for your dream catcher...
  2. coosbay person
    Report Abuse
    coosbay person - March 31, 2011 5:31 pm
    Sounds like a dream of one person. Hey why do it, Coos Bay/North Bend can't even combine there schools. I'm am sick and tired of tax dollars going nowhere.
  3. CB Lifer
    Report Abuse
    CB Lifer - March 31, 2011 11:27 am
    My prediciton...yet another expensive fiasco...that will flop...and it is not going to do what the dreams of grandeur expect..but go ahead and try, I got nothing better to do with my tax dollars....which is most of my check these days...I know I certainly won't use it...because I think it is stupid...but hey, I could be wrong.....
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