Commission Meeting News

Many hands built Riverfront Park master plan with new features for everyone

by Rachel Hansen | Dec 07, 2021

After nine months of outreach and planning, Chelan PUD and the City of Wenatchee unveiled a 15-year master plan for Riverfront Park that includes a splash pad, picnic pavilion and safety improvements to the Apple Capital Loop Trail.

“This is a long-range plan, set to occur over multiple phases, roughly spaced out every 5 years or so,” said Justin Erickson, managing director of district services at Chelan PUD (00:31:00 on the board audio recording). “It’s designed to provide that compelling vision that we anchor to going forward.”

The plan envisions 14 projects in three phases at Riverfront Park, a 31-acre area along the Columbia River just north of Fifth Street, extending south past Pybus Market to where the trail intersects with Worthen Street. The first phase of the Riverfront Park master plan is slated for 2022-2026 in coordination with the City of Wenatchee. Projects include:

  • Splash pad: A splash pad next to the existing restroom north of the Fifth Street roundabout, along with a new picnic pavilion and improved access from the parking lot.
  • Grove trail segment: Includes options to separate bike and pedestrian paths along the Apple Capital Loop Trail with striping, dividers, landscaping, or some combination adapted to different areas of the trail.
  • Train play area: A train-themed, accessible play area with a perimeter fence, shaded areas, and improvements to the depot for Wenatchee Riverfront Railway.

I like the variation along the trail,” said Chelan PUD Commissioner Steve McKenna on Monday. “I thought that’d be a fun trail to ride, walk, and experience.”

With two online surveys and two open houses, Chelan PUD collected more than 1,000 comments in English and Spanish. The survey results and ideas shared guided the creative vision and priorities of the master plan.

“In my eight years here, we’ve never had so much public comment on an issue as we’ve had in this master park plan,” said General Manager Steve Wright.

Chelan PUD and City of Wenatchee engaged with landscape architecture firm Greenworks to design the master plan. According to initial estimates, the cost to build Phase I will be roughly $4.2-4.5 million – a figure that will be updated with more design work and engineering next year.

Chelan PUD’s board of commissioners allocated an additional $800,000 from the utility’s Public Power Benefit fund to partially fund the first phase. Collectively, the City of Wenatchee and Chelan PUD have pledged $4 million (split equally) to this effort, with about $3.6 million remaining to begin implementing the first phase. 

Most of the land is owned by City of Wenatchee and leased to Chelan PUD to support park development as part of its license to operate Rock Island Dam.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Considered a rate that would impact commercial operators of 480-volt direct current fast-charging stations for electric vehicles. (01:22:55)
  • Reviewed a system impact fee for new customers when they connect to the electrical grid. The fee is designed to help cover the cost of new infrastructure, such as substations, to accommodate growth and development in Chelan County in a way that keeps rates low for existing customers. (01:32:22)
  • Adopted the 2022 budget after two public hearings in November. (02:51:30)

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