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April 2010, Gig Harbor Wash; The Gig Harbor City Council approved a purchase and sale agreement for the Madison Shores property located between The Tides Tavern and the Threshold (Russell) Building on Harborview Drive (formerly known as the Stutz property) at last night’s City Council meeting.

The City of Gig Harbor now has 45 days to perform due diligence by obtaining a market appraisal and environmental analysis before the sale becomes final. Properties like this do not come on the market often, and the economic downturn has made the cost of obtaining it within the city’s reach.

The Mayor and Council believe that purchase of the Madison Shores property fits within their long-term strategic goals for the city. The site adds another option for a Maritime Pier; will increase off-street downtown parking opportunities; will allow for potential recreational and commercial access to the water; will give the city control over a very important prominent parcel; and will insure, in perpetuity, an unobstructed view of the bay from both Soundview Drive and Harborview Drive.

The property has exceptional potential for the much discussed Maritime Pier. It has deep-water access; adequate parking; is located downtown, and is not disruptive to existing recreational areas. Additionally, preliminary numbers show construction of a pier at this site to be much less costly than at other sites under consideration.

The acquisition of the Madison Shores property has been structured so that it will have no effect on Gig Harbor’s General Fund until 2013. Prior to that, funds for the purchase and interim improvements will come from a Reserve Fund as an internal short-term loan. In 2013 the debt service for the Skansie Brothers Park acquisition will be retired and reallocated to the Madison Shores property. The Mayor and Council feel that this property will provide exceptional long-term benefits for citizens of Gig Harbor and that the decision to purchase it is not related to current revenues or staffing levels. They would have preferred that the opportunity occur during more favorable economic times but were convinced that the chance to acquire such an important parcel could not be ignored.

This property also has historical value, as it abuts the original site of the “People’s Dock” where the Tides Tavern now is. The “People’s Dock” built in the 1890’s served the community as a steamboat dock as well as grocery store, feed store and eventually a tavern. Today it remains a focal point of waterfront activity in Gig Harbor while retaining the flavor of its colorful past.

For additional information on this project contact Gig Harbor City Administrator Rob Karlinsey at (253) 851-6127.