Archive for » October 8th, 2017«

County parks upgrading boat launches, playgrounds, trails

MARYSVILLE — Snohomish County’s Wenberg Park is due for a multimillion-dollar makeover, with a groundbreaking expected within a month.

The popular getaway on the east shore of Lake Goodwin is in line for a new two-lane boat launch, dock and bigger parking lot. The swimming area and nature trails also figure into the work.

“In the entire life cycle of that park, this will be the biggest improvement that has ever been made,” parks director Tom Teigen said. “It’s going to be dramatic.”

Wenberg covers 45 acres northwest of Marysville. Long a state park, it was transferred to county ownership in 2009. The county last month approved a $3 million bid for the upcoming work with Strider Construction of Bellingham.

Wenberg figures among several projects in this year’s parks budget, as the department prepares for about $10 million worth of construction next year. Most of that work is paid for with taxes on real estate sales, grants and impact fees on development.

Some other ongoing and looming county park projects:

Lake Stickney: Work began this summer on about $1 million in improvements at this park on Manor Way in unincorporated Lynnwood. A new playground and viewing area should be ready by mid-2018, Teigen said.

Whitehorse Regional Trail: The whole 27-mile route between Arlington and Darrington should be open by the end of next summer, if all goes as planned. Upgrades include nine new miles of hard-packed gravel surface and two crossings over Highway 530 in the Cicero area.

Esperance Park: Some $2 million in improvements are on track to start next summer at this park near Edmonds, among them a new playground and off-leash dog park. Separately, Edmonds city leaders want to start a community garden there.

Jordan Bridge: Replacement of the decking is expected next year on the swinging bridge over the South Fork Stillaguamish River. The bridge was rebuilt in the 1970s, closed again for repairs in the 1990s and more recently underwent an extensive cleaning.

Parks officials and representatives from other county departments are scheduled to brief the County Council Monday about upcoming construction work as part the 2018 budget process. Other presentations, scheduled in council chambers between 8:30 a.m. and noon, focus on Paine Field, county roads and solid-waste facilities.

For more information, go to www.snoco.org or call 425-388-3494.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@herald net.com.
Twitter:
@NWhaglund.



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Winnisquam Marine dips toe in Winnipesaukee with purchase of Channel Marine

By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Winnisquam Marine, a family-run business founded 40 years ago and which has grown to become that largest pontoon boat dealer in New England, has made a splash in the Lakes Region boating industry by purchasing Channel Marine. The deal was finalized on Thursday evening.

The acquisition gives the Crawford family more boat storage space, more valet capability, more service and rental capacity, and, for the first time, a presence on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Winnisquam Marine was founded by Ed Crawford in 1977 near the Mosquito Bridge that crosses the channel on Lake Winnisquam. Today, Ed is joined in the company by his wife, Sheila, who serves as office manager; daughter, Julie Marsh, executive director, and; son, Ryan Crawford, who fills the role of vice president.

Ed said that Winnisquam Marine is “one of the bigger” marinas in the Lakes Region, and sells between 300 and 400 boats per year – the bulk of which are Bennington pontoon boats. While sales is the strong point for Winnisquam Marine, Ed said that the marina has to offer service to keep the customer happy. And, said Julie, doing so was a challenge without a location on Winnipesaukee.

“Our main customer base is over here, and we never had a location here,” Julie said, speaking on Friday morning in the Channel Marine office.

Channel Marine, perched on Lake Winnipesaukee’s Weirs Channel, covers nearly four-and-a-half acres, and includes 34 boat slips on the water, a valet building with room for 150 boats, and room to store 500 boats. Channel was founded by Vin Callahan in 1946, and sold the wooden GarWood boats. Bill Littlefield bought the business from Callahan, then in 2000 sold to Vin Mullarkey and Doug Hammond.

Mullarkey and Hammond had been in negotiations to sell the business earlier this year, but that deal fell through. When Ed heard that, he said, he said, “We approached them and came to terms.” Within the space of two months, he and his family were signing the documents.

Being on Winnipesaukee opens a new category of sales for the business, said Julie. Selling from their location by the Mosquito Bridge, they were mostly limited to boats smaller than 26 feet – boats that could easily be transported on a trailer. People on Winnipesaukee, who have boats larger than 26 feet, wouldn’t want to pull their boat out of the lake when it needs service.

“When you get into that big of a boat, the customer wants to be able to boat to you,” she said.

By the time that the Crawford family took it over, Channel Marine was primarily a service business, servicing up to 400 boats each year, while selling about 50 new boats. Under their management, the Crawfords hope to greatly increase the sales figures out of its new location, which it will rename Winnisquam Marine on Winnipesaukee.

Winnisquam Marine will bring its brands of Bennington, Bayliner, Crownline and Heydey, and they think their sales philosophy, which has garnered them increases of 20 to 30 percent in the past few years, will translate to Winnipesaukee.

The Crawfords have built thier business by carefully managing the customer experience. 

“We don’t use the ‘hard sell,'” said Sheila. While other marinas might hire experienced salespeople, Winnisquam has instead sought boaters and trained them to sell.

“We try to find the right fit for the customers,” said Julie.

Sheila said, “Boating’s supposed to be fun. You want to make it fun from the moment they walk in.”

Winnisquam Marine plans to retain all of the employees that had been working for Channel, which will help ease the transition for their new customer base.

“We’re excited to be on the big lake,” said Ed. “This was always kind of a road block as we were growing. The purchase of Channel Marine removes that road block. If our customer needs help, we can do it quicker, we’re here now.”

 

The Crawford family, which owns and operates Winnisquam Marine, closed on the deal to purchase Channel Marine on Thursday. The acquisition gives the growing marina a presence on Lake Winnipesaukee for the first time. From left are Ed Crawford, Ryan Crawford, Julie Marsh and Sheila Crawford. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)


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