It has been standing in the beach along side 51st Street since 1946 and today the historic Taft Dock has a new look and more strength to weather battering wind and rainstorms and thousands of annual visitor footsteps.

The Taft Dock was still closed to the public, as of Tuesday, Dec. 4, pending final inspections.

Lincoln City Public Works Administrative Coordinator Kevin Mattias said the work that began in September on the dock included:

• Removing the old railings, deck and substructure (parts of the old deck and railings where recovered and will be used for later projects and/or for historical preservation).

• Cutting the old pilings, and attaching new steel pilings to the base.

• Replacing the old deck and substructure with plastic lumber.

• Replacing the old railings with cedar.

• Installing handrails on the ramp to the dock to bring it up to ADA standards.

The City of Lincoln City hired Astoria-based Bergerson Construction as the contractor to do the dock renovations. Funding for the project is from the city's facilities capital fund.

“The final cost was $441,108.00,” Mattias said. “It was $8,892 under budget.”

Dock damage history

In June 2017, new concerns about the dock safety surfaced following a report reviewed by the Lincoln City Parks Advisory Committee that showed mounting costs associated with the long-term repairs needed to keep the dock safe and sound. At the time of the report, the estimated repair cost at $100,000 had swelled to $200,000.

The report cited the heavy rains and pushing winds in2016 increased damage to the dock.

“Driftwood broke one large post completely apart,” the report reads. “The four posts facing the ocean are now leaning and several others are cracked, split and missing boards.”

At one point in 2017, Lincoln City Public Works Director Lila Bradley said the damage became a safety issue and the walking entrance to the dock was briefly boarded off to stop visitors from using the dock.

Following the 2016 report, Lincoln City Public Works crews made structural improvements to the dock, including adding braces along the railing.

City officials have said the Taft Dock is a tourist attraction.

By a vote of 4-to 2 on Monday, July 9 this year, the Lincoln City Council approved the city public works department's $450,000 renovate plan for the Taft Dock. Councilors Judy Casper and Dick Anderson voted against the plan.

Anderson asked how the Taft Dock fit into the economic plans of the city.

“I am not suggesting tear it down,” he said. “I am not against the dock. I am cautioning, is this what we want to do, to save something that we don’t know how it fits?

Mayor Don Williams supported the renovations.

“This is a natural hiking and biking area and to me it is one of the icons of Lincoln City,” Williams said.

The city staff agreed to develop a broader work plan to better connect the Taft Dock to local economic development.

According to documents provided by the North Lincoln County Historical Museum, the Taft Dock was constructed in 1946, replacing a previous fishing dock that had been built in the early 1920s.

Read more about the history and see more photos of Taft Dock at thenewsguard.com.

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