Longview residents who visit Lake Sacajawea Park will benefit from more than $1 million in planned improvements in the coming years.
The Washington State Legislature funded $900,000 for park renovations — including replacing bathrooms and sidewalks at Hemlock Plaza and repairing Martin Dock — during the session that ended April 25.
The budget is on the governor’s desk to sign.
Longview City Manager Kurt Sacha said the city requested $700,000 to renovate Lake Sacajawea’s Hemlock Plaza restrooms, $155,000 to repair Martin Dock and $215,000 to upgrade the Hemlock Street sidewalk.
The state will fund $900,000 of the roughly $1.1 million project, and the city will fund the remaining $170,000, Sacha said.
Sacha said the sidewalk likely will be repaired this summer and construction on the dock could begin this year. The restrooms will take longer because designs have not been finalized.
The Longview City Council originally requested $580,000 for bathroom renovations, and then discussed dropping the restroom request in January.
The original request was for sleek, oval, stand-alone, stainless steal bathrooms called Portland Loos. In retrospect, Sacha said the design “probably wasn’t the best fit for Lake Sacajawea being in a historical district.”
At the Jan. 14 Longview City Council meeting, Sacha suggested reviewing the bathroom designs after speaking with state Sen. Jeff Wilson outside of a council meeting. Wilson helped secure funding for the improvements.
Sacha said the new buildings will include an open room with several stalls. He said the city spent time and money fixing the current bathrooms over the years, and the new restrooms would be “industrial strength,” with stainless steel toilets instead of porcelain.
The current park restrooms have a sink and toilet in each room.
People lock themselves in the individual rooms of the existing structure to shelter, use drugs or have sex, said Councilman Chet Makinster, who also said he has seen sinks and pipes ripped from the bathroom walls.
“It’s really a shame,” Makinster said. “We try to keep them clean, but they are a mess.”
Sacha said the sidewalk at Hemlock Street has deteriorated because of high traffic of people and food carts during special events such as Fourth of July celebration and Movies in the Park.
Martin Dock has cracks and is sloping toward the water. The dock houses bands and movie screenings during special events.
As part of improvements, the sidewalk and dock would be updated to meet American with Disabilities Act requirements.