Community Environment Government

Sale of historic Lakebay Marina nears completion

Posted on December 20th, 2021 By:

The Lakebay Marina sale will finally be completed this week.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Recreational Boating Association of Washington (RBAW) Marine Parks Conservancy will close in the next few days on the $1.776 million purchase from Mark Scott.

Lakebay Marina with pier

The pier will remain open to the public during renovations. Ed Friedrich / Gig Harbor Now

The payment comes from a boating facilities grant allocated by the Legislature in the 2021 capital budget. In addition, Pierce County provided $250,000, the state added another $100,000 from the 2020 supplemental capital budget and private donors contributed tens of thousands of dollars more. Funds remaining after the sale will be used for planning, removing old docks, cleaning up the fuel station and making the property safe, according to RBAW President Bob Wise.

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said a marina neighbor brought the struggling facility to her attention, her team checked it out and the department began to work with Scott on finding a buyer.

“It became clear that the owner was challenged in being able to maintain the facility and also bring it up to environmental, and health and safety standards,” she said.

lakebay marina

The docks will be removed and replaced. Ed Friedrich / Gig Harbor Now

Scott, who acquired the property in 2013, had several run-ins with the county and state over the property’s condition. Three run-down outbuildings were demolished in January because the county deemed them a danger to the public.

The project will be a collaboration of Natural Resources, which will oversee the aquatic lands and lease, State Parks, which will manage the uplands area, and the boater group, which will renovate, maintain and operate the marina, Franz said.

map of key peninsula and gig harbor area showing where lakebay marina is

Lakebay Marina is about a half hour’s drive from Gig Harbor via the Purdy Bridge. Courtesy of Google Maps

“I’m thrilled that the history isn’t lost and it’ll be in much better condition than it has in a long, long time,” Franz said of the former Mosquito Fleet stop.

Other renovations will require more grants and take two to three years, during which the waterfront and pier will remain open to the public. Improvements to the 17.5-acre property on Mayo Cove will include recreation and picnic areas, public restrooms, recreational moorage and vessel pump-out and fueling facilities.

Lakebay Marina

Lakebay Marina is one of few in the South Sound with a fuel dock. Ed Friedrich / Gig Harbor Now

“One of the main justifications for the public’s involvement is that it’s going to be a facility for everyone to enjoy,” said Pierce County Council chairman Derek Young, whose district includes Key Peninsula. “That’s really important.”

The county provided the $250,000 in seed money with no clear picture of what would transpire.

“Sometimes you just see something and you’re not quite sure what the finish is going to look like, but it’s important to try to get it started,” Young said. “The important part is saving it. That’s the critical piece.”

The deal has been in the works since Wise approached Scott 2 1/2 years ago.

“I read about some of the problems they’d been having and understood it was in a bit of disrepair,” he said Monday. “I thought to myself, it’s the perfect opportunity for our organization to return to our roots, which is conservation and stewardship for recreational boating.”

Lakebay Marina

Historic Lakebay Marina is in Mayo Cove, not far from Penrose Point State Park. Ed Friedrich / Gig Harbor Now

Wise and Scott agreed to a purchase and sale agreement in November 2019, contingent upon Wise raising the required funds. He created the nonprofit offshoot Marine Parks Conservancy and has spent the past two years lining up grants, a process slowed by COVID-19.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that we were able to help in acquiring this property and put it into long-term conservation,” Wise said. “But we do need to fix that property up. It’s in need of some tender loving care, and that’s what we’re there to do. It’s going to be an amazing facility for the public. I couldn’t be more excited about what’s happening out there.”

Wise envisions environmentally friendly and safe docks, reliable utilities, pump-out facilities, a fuel dock, a meeting area for boaters and the community and the boat ramp rebuilt and extended. The public will be involved in determining the amenities, including whether they want a cafe like one that has been there.

“We don’t want this just to be about the larger boats, we want it to be about all boats,” Wise said. “We have a saying, ‘It’s not about the boat, it’s about the float.’ Big boat, small boat, power boat, sailboat, canoe, standup paddleboard, getting out on the water is just great no matter how you do it.”

The marina, next to Penrose Point State Park, was built as a pier for small cargo ships, serviced the Mosquito Fleet, housed a small egg and poultry cooperative, and served as a dance hall and gathering place for the community. It is one of only two public marine facilities on the Key Peninsula and one of the few fuel docks in southern Puget Sound.