Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

Summer can be a quiet time for a port mostly dominated by commercial crab fishing in the winter, but Crescent City Harbor is busy this season with a construction project designed with aesthetics in mind.

The $1.3 million project underway by the general contractor Hemmingsen Construction includes developing a half-mile section of the California Coastal Trail and building a promenade around the inner boat basin that will include viewing platforms, weather shelters and interpretive signage.

Similar to a bus shelter, the glass-paneled wind shelters will provide protection for visitors from the North Coast's inclement weather while they read signs about the port and area's natural features.

Muse Concrete Contractors, out ofRedding, poured concrete this week for the viewing platforms that hang over the eastern corners of the inner boat basin and framed the promenade, to be poured next week, which overlook the entrance channel. This week, Muse also demonstrated the sandblast-finished designs that will decorate the promenade with outlines of crab, salmon and shrimp.The concrete work is expected to be completed mid-July.

Full completion of the promenade, wind shelters, signage and harbor section of the coastal trail is expected to be completed mid-September.

Crescent Electric has been installing conduit for the weather shelters that will be at the western corners of the inner boat basin.

The harbor's coastal trail is also making good progress this summer with the gravel base for the asphalt trail already laid out around Citizens Dock Road, up along the eastern edge of the inner boat basin and then running alongside the harbor's dredge ponds before meeting with Sunset Circle. When finished, the trail will allow pedestrians and cyclists to get from Crescent City's developed section of coastal trail to the harbor without walking along Highway 101.

"Hemmingsen Construction has been doing a really good job; they've been very cooperative," said the harbor's lead engineer, Ward Stover of Stover Engineering."We've been pleased with their work up to this stage."

Tourist-friendly aims

The leadership of Crescent City Harbor District has made it clear that to stay viable, the port needs to transition from being primarily commercial fishing-focused to something that is more tourist-friendly, drawing more economic development. Accessibility projects like platforms and trails in the inner boat basin are intended to make the harbor more approachable for visitors.

"The promenade is going to be one of the final touches for making the harbor visitor-friendly," said harbor Commissioner Ron Phillips in December when the project was awarded to Hemmingsen.

The improvements are part of a larger project that includes a building in the north part of the inner boat basin that has already been completed and includes an enclosed fish cleaning station, laundromat and a bathroom with hot showers for transient fishermen.

The majority of the Coastal Trail, promenade, fish cleaning station and bathroom project is being funded by the California Coastal Conservacy.

The Conservancy's other projects in Del Norte County include the Crescent City B Street wharf, the city's section of the coastal trail over Elk Creek Battery Point Lighthouse restoration, waterfront planning, a visitor destination study and development of the Harbor District's master plan.