Longview crews Monday kicked off the city’s million-dollar pledge to update Lake Sacajawea Park through the end of the year.
The city plans to update the park’s Hemlock Plaza by repairing the sidewalk, adding pedestrian ramps and installing new restrooms. Hemlock Plaza is located just west of Hemlock Street and includes a playground and a statue of a boy playing fetch with his dog.
Crews Monday started to replace the sidewalk between Hemlock Street and the pedestrian bridge, as all as add Americans With Disabilities Act ramps at the intersection of Kessler Boulevard and Hemlock Street. Trails around the sidewalk, including the pedestrian bridge, are closed during construction.
Crews are scheduled to work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday through June 26, ending in time for the city’s Go 4th Festival at the park on July Fourth weekend.
After Go 4th, crews plan to upgrade the current brick-and-mortar restrooms at Hemlock Plaza to stainless steal structures. The current brick restrooms have one toilet and sink, each, while the new design will include many stalls in separate rooms for men and women, according to Longview City Manager Kurt Sacha.
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The restroom construction is scheduled through Dec. 31.
The city received $900,000 for the park’s renovations during the 2021 state legislative session. The city will cover just under $200,000 of the project, which totals $1.1 million, Sacha said.
The city originally planned to repair Martin’s Dock with the state funds, but due to increased costs, officials tabled renovations. He said there is no timeline for repairs. Martin’s Dock houses bands and moving screenings during special events.
Sacha said the Hemlock Plaza sidewalk is worn due to the high traffic of park events like Go 4th. Thousands of people typically attend the festival over July Fourth in the park to play games, listen to music and watch fireworks.
Sacha said more people are anticipated this year — roughly 40,000 — partly because the holiday falls over the weekend.
More people could also attend because a large, nearby event canceled its fireworks display.
The Historic Trust of Vancouver announced this week a smaller, fireworks-free Independence Day celebration called “Summer Fest” will permanently replace the city’s usual larger event with fireworks due to issues like cost and wildfire risks.
Planning for the event was also postponed, said The Historic Trust Marketing and Events Director Amy VanCamp. Usually planning starts about 10 months prior, which was during the height of the COVID-19 Omicron variant outbreak.
Instead, the Historic Trust is hosting a free event on July 3 called Summer Fest at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver. The event plans to include live music, games and a movie to be played at dusk.
The Daily News, Longview, Wash.
This story has been updated to include that trails along the Hemlock Plaza sidewalk are closed during construction.