By David Wilfong

Herald-Banner Staff

The Rockwall City Council was presented with two possible plans for adding new docks to The Harbor at Monday's city council meeting.

Representatives of Bellingham Marine, along with Parks and Recreation Director Brad Griggs presented the two plans, each with options for designs to withstand 50 mph and 70 mph winds.

The first plan consisted of two deck extensions, one coming from the area where the current docks are located as well as an outer row extending from the existing jetty (upon which the existing lighthouse rests), and a second design which originates from the water's edge where the circular fountain reaches furthest from the shoreline.

Councilmembers Matt Scott and David Sweet stated that they were in favor of the option that connected with the fountain area. That option would have left open the area of the water immediately beyond the amphitheater stage for boats that wanted to pull up close to concerts, but anchor and stay on the water. They also stated that the second design allowed for more open access to the inner docks for boats coming in to The Harbor. Scott said that the boating lanes of traffic created by the first design could present problems with multiple boats trying to come in and out at the same time.

Griggs told the council that the first design option provided more protection for the docks from winds originating from the southwest, across the open stretch leading to The Harbor from the dam. It was winds from this direction that ultimately ended up causing extensive damage to the original docks. Griggs said that what turned out to be so harmful in the first incident with wind was the waves reflecting off the seawall of The Harbor and putting a "twisting" force on the docks.

One note regarding lane traffic made by Griggs was that Scott Self, owner of the SeaWolf sailing catamaran which operates from a boarding dock on the inner side of the existing jetty, had said that he would like to see the outer deck moved slightly further from its position on the design schematic.

While deliberation between the two designs went back and forth briefly, Councilmember Glen Farris spoke quickly on his approval of the first plan then abruptly moved for the acceptance of the first plan, built at the 50 mph specification.

The plan passed 5-2 with Scott and Sweet voting against.

The new dock layout at The Harbor will feature 55 boat slips with additional tie-on space at a cost of $944,000 ($37,500 engineering design fees already dedicated). The city also moved to hire an independent engineering consultant for the project at an additional cost of $10,000. The new docks will be built in modular design, allowing smaller sections to be replaced in the event of damage caused either by natural elements or by collision. The Bellingham representatives recounted an accident in which one of their existing docks was struck by a barge and individual pieces were able to be reconstructed without replacing entire sections of the structure.

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