Acquisition will enhance public waterfront recreation
Longview, WA –Port of Longview commissioners today unanimously agreed to take over Willow Grove Park in West Longview as part of the Port’s mission to enhance recreation opportunities and provide public access to the waterfront. Under the Port’s management, Willow Grove will remain a public park, commissioners promised.
“Ports create strong communities,” Port Commission President Darold Dietz said. “Not only does that mean creating jobs as an economic engine, but it also includes amenities that make our area a great place to live.”
Cowlitz County officials had asked the Port last year to consider managing the 75-acre park, beach and boat launch on the Columbia River because of the county’s limited funding. The Port performed due diligence this summer to explore what taking over the park would entail in terms of improvements, maintenance and funding.
Before beginning any improvements to the park, Port Commissioners will conduct public outreach to find out what specific amenities the community wants. In general, staff members have discussed replacing the park’s playground equipment, picnic tables and picnic shelters as well as repair infrastructure such as water lines and pavement. Port employees will maintain the park. However, the Commission has not yet decided how it will develop the park.
Future improvements could include interpretive panels containing information about types of ships and wildlife on the river.
“We see this as a fantastic opportunity to give back to citizens,” said Port Chief Executive Officer Geir Eilif-Kalhagen. “We want to ensure families have a local place to go to boat, fish and play on the beach that’s safe, scenic and fun.”
This will be the first time in the Port’s 93-year history that it has operated a park. The state authorizes ports to provide public recreation opportunities, and currently, half of the 75 port districts in Washington do so.
About the Port of Longview
The Port of Longview is the first full-service operating port with strategic transportation connections on the deep-draft Columbia River shipping channel in southwest Washington State. The Port is located just 66 river miles from the Pacific Ocean, 120 driving miles from Seattle, Washington, and 40 driving miles from Portland, Oregon. Port facilities include eight marine terminals and waterfront industrial property with direct connections to main-line rail and interstate highway. Cargo handling specialties include all types of bulk cargos and breakbulk commodities such as steel, lumber, logs, pulp, paper, project and heavy-lift cargo.
For more information contact:
Amy Fischer, Port of Longview