Indianola Port Commission reopens dock; organized gatherings not permitted

INDIANOLA — Indianola Port Commissioners Jeff Henderson and Eric Cookson voted Tuesday to reopen the Indianola dock, effective immediately.

The commission is still concerned about too many people using the dock at one time -- a concern first expressed by the port district's engineers in June, which led to the dock being closed. Commissioners said large organized gatherings are still not permitted on the dock. Signage will be posted, but how many people constitute a large gathering wasn't been determined Tuesday.

Approximately 30 residents attended the meeting. Michael Hooley has one word regarding the reopening of the dock: "Overdue."

Public response to the closure of the historic dock, a community gathering place, led to the resignation of two commissioners. The resolution voted on Tuesday was first raised at a meeting Aug. 6, and Commissioner Joan Wald resigned after she and Henderson split on a vote on the resolution -- she was opposed, Henderson was supportive -- at a special meeting Aug. 13.

The port district awaits an engineering assessment to determine what kind of work needs to be done to stabilize the dock, determine how much creosote the pilings contain, and determine which pilings need to be replaced.

Henderson said earlier he expects work on the dock to include adding more cross-bracing and strapping to alleviate sway. One of the reasons commissioners originally voted to close the dock June 27 was because a handful of people were able to make the dock sway back and forth.

Replacing bracing and repairing pilings are estimated to cost between $110,000 and $240,000; replacing pilings could raise that cost to $480,000. About 80 of the historic dock’s pilings may need to be replaced, according to Coast & Harbor, the port's engineer.

Shane Phillips, an engineer with Coast & Harbor, suggested during the July 23 meeting that immediate repairs to curb fears and reopen the dock should include an analysis, cross-bracing of pilings, and a load restriction.


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