Gateway: Sports

Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team closer to having permanent home with opening of Ancich Park

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The Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team is one step closer to realizing its goal of having a permanent home in Gig Harbor.

The city held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Ancich Park on Saturday, officially opening the park to the public after phase one of the project was completed. As of now, the view platforms and restrooms are open.

For GHCKRT, the next phase will be the most important. The second phase calls for a paddler’s dock and a human-powered watercraft storage facility.

“This is a huge deal for the club,” said GHCKRT media relations coordinator Kirsten Gregory. “This is what the club and (founder and coach) Alan Anderson have been working on for 15 or 16 years.”

Currently, GHCKRT launches out of Skansie Park in downtown Gig Harbor, with expensive performance racing kayaks and canoes stored outdoors.

“Right now, the kids don’t have a place to change, store their backpacks, that kind of thing,” Gregory said. “And the boats are expensive, fragile boats. To have those boats stored inside, it’ll be the only thing of its kind of this area. … So it’s huge for the team, huge for the community. It’s a tremendous win/win.”

GHCKRT will be the primary tenant of the new boat storage facility in Ancich Park in the public/private partnership. But that partnership will come at a steep financial cost to the club, which is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise $1.5 million.

“It’s about a million dollars of construction, permitting, design, etc.,” Gregory said. “The whole site is ADA accessible.”

GHCKRT is also still working with the city, hoping to receive some funding to offset some of the total cost. Still, even with help, GHCKRT will need to raise a considerable amount of money.

“Alan Anderson never backs down from a challenge,” Gregory said. “He thinks nothing is impossible. We hope the city will be a good partner with us going forward and we’re hoping to have a lot of other community support, as well.”

The team paid the cost of the initial design work and the cost of the environmental permitting, Gregory said. The environmental impact studies for the site are currently underway. The best case scenario, if GHCKRT can raise all the necessary funds and the permitting process is complete, is for construction to begin in August. If all the moving parts don’t come together at the time, GHCKRT will shoot for August 2020.

Interested in donating to the cause or learning more? Visit communitypaddlersdock.org for additional information.

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