KENNEWICK — Port of Kennewick officials and Northwest tribal leaders are to gather this afternoon on Clover Island to bless and celebrate the completion of an 863-foot walkway along the river near the lighthouse.
The program, beginning at 3:30 p.m., will be outdoors near where the Sacagawea Heritage Trail crosses the road to Clover Island at the archway. The public is welcome to attend.
The pathway, which meanders along the west side of the road, includes wooden deck areas and an 80-foot-long viewing area.
Tana Bader Inglima, director of governmental relations and marketing for the port, said the $700,000 project is the second phase of Clover Island improvements that began more than a year ago when the port built the arch and lighthouse.
Bader Inglima said the project involved removing tons of concrete that had been dumped along the shoreline for protection against river currents and erosion, plus the addition of more environmentally friendly basalt, trees and shrubs.
A grant of $500,000 from the state Recreation and Conservation Funding Board for aquatic lands enhancement paid for most of the work.
"We wanted to create a destination place on the waterfront that would be attractive for future investment on Clover Island, and where people could come to walk, ride a bicycle or pause to enjoy the river," she said.
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and representatives of the state Fish and Wildlife Department helped in decisions about how to best accomplish the work by suggesting plants and methods to preserve the aquatic environment.
One of the ways used to return the river's edge to a more natural state involved placing the stumps from 10 large trees with their root balls intact at the water line. The trees were part of what was removed during the construction of the double roundabout at the south end of the blue bridge in Kennewick, Bader Inglima said.
The port took about 30 of the uprooted trees, stored them for future use, until the pathway project was ready.
Alaska yellow cedar was incorporated into the pathway for the wood decking, and other natural stone was used in creating low walls that define the landscaped path.
"The plan is to continue this treatment all around the island," Bader Inglima said.