Friday, August 05, 2005

$900,000 Benicia peninsula project is nearly complete

August 4, 2005

Benicia peninsula is nearly complete

By GREG MOBERLY, Times-Herald staff writer

- Fishermen, sightseers and joggers may once again enjoy views from the First Street Peninsula as soon as Friday.

That's when Rick Knight, Benicia building and maintenance supervisor, anticipates the bulk of peninsula renovations will be finished.

There are a few items still to be completed, most involving working with Pacific Gas & Electric to get energy to the site, he said Wednesday.

The includes paved parking, handicapped-accessible restrooms, lights (anticipated in another six weeks) and completion of a walking trail. The fish-cleaning area was repaired.

It's fishermen who will soon flock to the pier who will use the peninsula most of the time. Fishing typically doesn't pick up until the end of August, when salmon make their way to the area, said Pam Royal, owner of Benicia Bait and Tackle, 509 Claverie Way.

"Everyone's been waiting with great anticipation to get this peninsula open," Royal said of her customers.

It'll be interesting to get some feedback on the changes, Royal said.

Benicia Main Street Executive Director Libbey Mc-Kendry already is looking forward to fewer people asking to use her organization's restroom. Its quarters sit in the historic Southern Pacific Depot at the foot of First Street near the peninsula.

McKendry said she also likes that there won't be any more dust raised by passing vehicles.

The city expected the work to be completed by the beginning of August, but cleanup of contaminated soils added costs and time.

Knight said contractor Hess Construction found arsenic, selenium, lead paint and old diesel fuels from the old Southern Pacific Railroad. It took $49,000 to test the site and bring in new soil to replace the contaminated dirt, he said.

The project was funded with a mix of federal, state and city money, federal Land and Water Conservation Act, $150,000 from Coastal Conservancy and $252,000 from the state Department of Fish and Game's Wildlife Conservation Board.

- E-mail Greg Moberly at or call 553-6833.

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