Lions making Poulsbo boardwalk their ‘mane’ attraction

POULSBO — A small gold plaque at the Waterfront Park end of Little Norway’s boardwalk reads “Another Lions Project.”

A sign that’s as much a part of the structure’s past as it is of its future.

Saturday morning, a small group of Poulsbo Noon Lions gathered downtown to begin work replacing the aging seaside causeway. The club worked on the walkway when it was built about 30 years ago and when member Richard Prine recently heard it was again in need of work, he pushed his fellow Lions back into the building business.

“I said, ‘Hey, I’ve got just the group,’” Prine recalled with a laugh of volunteering the Lions. “But, obviously, we’re going to need more man power.”

The 615-foot boardwalk from the Sons of Norway Hall to American Legion Park was a segment of the plans designed by architect Ken Koehler for Waterfront Park (then, known as Liberty Bay Park) in the 1970s. The groundbreaking for the park occurred in 1974 and the boardwalk was built sometime thereafter. In September 2003, then Public Works Superintendent Bill Duffy reported that maintenance crews had found significant rot in the structure’s 117 stringers, the pieces that support the decking.

A budget of about $50,000 was identified in the 2004 Public Works Department Budget to revamp the boardwalk, including making it more ADA accessible. After a structural engineer confirmed in late 2003 that the walkway was still safe for use, crews decided to delay the project until after Viking Fest.

During the planning process, the Lions also came forward and volunteered to donate the physical labor to replace the structure. Given that the materials alone cost an estimated $35,000, Public Works Facilities, Grounds and Vehicle Management Division Head Dan Wilson said the offer was just what the city needed to get the project done in a timely manner.

“It’s going to save us on the labor,” he said. “If we had to pay for the labor, there’s no way we’d be able to do the project right now. This way, we were able to focus most of our money on the materials.”

The majority of the walkway will be made of pressure-treated wood. The actual boardwalk surface will be made from Starboard, a wood and plastic composite building material, which will add longevity to the project. James Lumber worked with manufacturer Shoreline Industries of Sedro Woolley to secure the amount needed for the project at a reasonable price. Wilson added that Starboard’s local sales representative showed great interest in being part of the effort in order to have a show piece to demonstrate his product.

Saturday, the small group worked in a constant downpour to replace one section of the boardwalk. Prine said the preliminary work party was mainly for the purpose of getting a feel for the project and how many workers will be needed. The Lions are hoping to enlist the help of volunteer groups from one of the local Naval bases but are also looking for any volunteers interested in wielding a hammer.

Prine added that the more volunteers they get, the faster the project can be completed.

“Given that it’s all volunteer labor, we’ll probably be working on this all summer,” he commented.

Other than while work parties are taking place, no closures of the boardwalk are planned during the project. Prine said crews plan to have the structure in usable order after every visit.

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