Fact finding at Haines Wharf

By John Owen | Oct 06, 2011

You can admire a dozen or more multi-storied houses with million-dollar views above the intersection of 162nd St. SW and 75th Place West.

Below that intersection you'll spot a construction site with $3 million views. You own that or at least a part of it if you are an Edmonds taxpayer.

The project is Haines Wharf Park and the price has almost doubled from the original $1.6 million estimate, an issue of concern with residents, city council members and Edmonds  mayors, past and present.

"Not all projects go well.  Haines Wharf Park did not go well," acknowledged Public Works Director Phil Williams, summarizing the dollar creep.

OK, suppose it's going to cost $3 million.  Did you get your money's worth?

A two-person fact finding committee pondered that question at noon on a recent sunny, weekday.

We immediately noted that views from the park are spectacular and unusual.  

And we also noted there was nobody of any age enjoying the view or using the facilities except us, and my wife wouldn't let me try out the superslide.  

Matter of fact, I didn't want to take a slide.  Because my untrained eye could spot a dozen potential lawsuits, represented by the jagged, stone slabs that border the stairway.

For younger kids there are four swings, a jungle gym, there are a few benches, picnic tables and a porta-potty.

There is room for at least 15 cars on the main thoroughfare above the park and a couple more spaces near the porta-potty.

Above the park is the "Chief David Sterns" memorial outlook, honoring the city's late police chief.  

A fixed field-glass highlights the outlook.  But you can't really see much through the lens.  

If you have one eye or three eyes it might work.  We tried  it on four people who possessed two eyes apiece and we could barely focus on a nearby fishing boat.  

Did anybody from the Public Works Department try to look through that contraption?  It wouldn't seem so.

With our bare eyes we could inspect the wreckage of the wharf, built in 1939 and almost destroyed by a storm last January.

It was originally a barn,  floated to that site after a crossing from the Kitsap Peninsula.  

A more recent boat storage facility  still looms above the wharf and its future has not yet been determined because it is privately owned.

A fellow who joined us at the outlook, recalled that when he was a kid he used to hook  trash fish off of the wharf.

I didn't  reveal the skyrocketing price on nostalgia along Brown's Bay these days.   

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