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Many Years in the Making: Ancich Waterfront Park

The City celebrated Ancich Waterfront Park’s opening on March 23, 2019. This project started with an idea which goes back to the original purchase of the property in 2012 by the City of Gig Harbor. The ultimate vision for this land was to preserve part of the historic working waterfront, but funds were limited, and the City was unable to proceed with park development at that time.  

In 2015, the City of Gig Harbor was the recipient of two generous state grants for the development of this park which offset part of the funding needed for this project to move forward, and helped what was once a dream, to become a reality. 
Jennifer Kilmer, the Executive Director of Washington State Historical Society, assisted the City with the Heritage Capital Projects Grant. A generous $660,000 grant was awarded for the rehabilitation of the historic Ancich Netshed. 

An additional grant, the Aquatic Lands and Enhancement Grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, was the second funding grant. This $500,000 grant was earmarked to develop the Upland Ancich Park and human-powered watercraft amenities.
In addition to the City’s generous funding partners, there was also tremendous support from elected officials. The City thanks retired State Senator Jan Angel who personally championed this project both in procuring funding and during permitting. The City also thanks 26th District Representatives Jessie Young, Michelle Caldier, and District 7 Pierce County Council Member Derek Young, who were the elected officials during the time it was developed.

The Ancich Brothers Netshed is listed on the City’s Local Historic Register.   This spectacular location is in the heart of one of our oldest areas along the historic working waterfront that’s known as the Millville Neighborhood.  Over the course of planning for the project, there was significant input and help from various permitting agencies.  The City appreciates the Department of Archaeological and Historic Preservation’s Executive Director Dr. Allyson Brooks for providing guidance to staff during the design process to ensure that the Secretary of Interior Standards were met. The rehabilitated net shed will stand on our shoreline for generations and will show our commitment to preserving Gig Harbor’s rich heritage.  

The City recognizes the efforts of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Gig Harbor Design Review Board, and the Planning and Building Staff of the City of Gig Harbor. Special thanks to Katrina Knutson, Jeff Langhelm, and George Flanigan and his Public Works team for their tireless work to ensure this park became a reality.  

Thank you to the talented design and construction teams who assisted city staff with design and construction. PND Engineers and Quigg Brothers Construction took a vision and constructed the beautiful park we can enjoy today. 

The community is grateful to all those who worked on and contributed to creating a comprehensive list of Gig Harbor’s commercial fishing fleet.  The 400-plus commemorative tiles spans over 100 years of maritime history. They were placed on the upper plaza to honor our local vessels and their families.  Compiling this list has been underway for years thanks to members of the Gig Harbor Commercial Fishing Fleet, Gregg Lovrovich, local anthropologist Linda Pitcher, Lita Dawn Ancich, and many others.

The City is honored and proud to have a partner in the Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Racing Team, who call Gig Harbor home. Recognized nationally and internationally the team has helped to develop skills, both physically and mentally in their teammates. Although the dock for human-powered watercraft has not been completed, we hope the partnership with the team brings the creation of a float system to benefit the entire community. 

Again, a thank you to all the citizens, stakeholders, past and previous council members, present and past mayors and ad-hoc committee members who worked diligently to bring Ancich Waterfront Park to fruition. This project has taken five years of brainstorming, public outreach, countless meetings, and the efforts of multiple agencies and the community at large. All that time and effort has led us to the addition of a park that is yet another jewel in our community.