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Port of Manchester studies, mulls future uses of facilities

The Port of Manchester is in the second phase of a survey to determine usage patterns of the Manchester Boat Launch and the adjoining Pomeroy Park. The results will be used to decide how the facilities are used in the future.

“We have never had access to this information,” said Manchester resident Wanda Larsen, who is helping to administer the survey. “We will use these results to determine what kind of improvements we should make.”

The survey will be conducted on four occasions. The first occurred June 1 and the second is scheduled for July 12.

The remaining dates are Aug. 16 and Sept. 13.

The June 1 survey was conducted in conjunction with Kitsap County, which installed a traffic counter at the park opening.

An average of 250 cars per day were counted during the three-day period.

Among those surveyed, most expressed concern about the lack of adequate parking during the busy season. Many asked for additional restrooms and recreational equipment, and the majority felt the facility was one of the best in South Kitsap.

Since June 1 was the opening of fishing season and not particularly warm, the results aren’t definitive.

“We can’t draw any conclusions from these numbers,” said organizer Bud Larsen. “Once we get the results of all four surveys, we will be able to make some decisions.” 

The surveys were separate, with 26 people polled in the park and 44 surveyed at the boat launch.

This didn’t accurately represent park use numbers, as each participant represented a larger group.

While the Port of Manchester does not have a large budget to make these changes, Wanda Larsen said it would apply for available grants in order to make the requested improvements.

The most significant finding, according to the sponsors, was that a majority of the users came from outside the port boundaries.

This caused an imbalance, since locals often contributed use of facilities for visitors, while visitors did not provide such added value.

For this reason, the sponsors suggested establishing a voluntary user fee for visitors from outside the port district.

The published results contained a spot of humor, reporting that 83 percent of people were there for fishing while 33 percent were there for “pleasure.” 

While there was some overlap, the report noted, “...this means that most fisherman are serious.”

Suggestions for the park included enforcement of fishing boundaries, installation of a safety rail, clearer designation of usage areas, addition of bike racks, life jackets and a “smoothie bar.”

Suggestions for the boat ramp included extending the ramp, dredging the area, charging for parking. opening the local store and adding a hose for rinsing boats and motors.

The surveys take place from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the boat launch and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the park.

Wanda Larsen said she expected that all visitors to both areas during survey days will be asked to participate.

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