Officials to attend ferry dedication

Members of the Kennewick City Council, the city manager and several city staff will be on deck next week for the formal dedication and community celebration of the state ferry Kennewick in Port Townsend.

The 64-car boat, one of three recently built to join a fleet that's part of the Washington State Ferries system, will be open for public inspection from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Port Townsend ferry terminal.

Constructed at a cost of $60 million, the 273-foot-long ferry will be making runs from Port Townsend to Coupeville on Whidbey Island on a schedule to begin in mid-January. It replaces a 65-year-old ferry named Rhododendron.

The ferry dedication will include remarks from Kennewick Mayor Steve Young, David Moseley as head of the ferry system, 41st District Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, who is transportation chairman of the House of Representatives, and from state 8th District Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, followed by light refreshments.

There will be entertainment provided in the passenger cabin by local talent from the Wild Rose Choral and the Airstream Travelers.

Visitors to the ferry will be allowed to explore the ferry on their own.

The ferry will be docked in slip No. 2 at the Port Town-send ferry terminal, and visitors are advised that no public parking will be allowed at the terminal itself, except for passengers using the ferry Salish, which will continue to sail throughout the day.

Parking for people visiting the Kennewick ferry will be available in the parking lot adjacent to the Port Town-send ferry terminal.

In addition to Young and Klippert, Kennewick's representatives who plan to attend the dedication are City Manager Marie Mosley, council members Don Britain, John Hubbard and Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Brown. Also expected to attend are Police Chief Ken Hohenberg, Terry Walsh, the city's executive director of employee and community relations, and Linda Spier, executive assistant in the police department, who did much of the research in preparing the nomination of Kennewick as the name of new ferry.

Others planning to join the entourage are Kris Watkins, president and CEO of the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Center, and Tim Artnzen, executive of the Port of Kennewick.

Naming the ferry Kennewick recognizes Kennewick's nautical heritage with steamboats on the Columbia and Snake rivers, said Michael Fox of Bainbridge Island, who first suggested the idea to Spier almost two years ago.

Fox told the Herald he grew up being familiar with ferries because his father worked on them. He noticed the invitation from the Washington Department of Transportation to nominate names for three new ferries to be built. In addition to suggesting Kennewick, Fox thought that Kahlotus and Washtucna should be considered.

Several Kennewick officials participated in the christening of the Kennewick ferry last May when it was eased into the water at Vigor Shipyards at Elliott Bay.