The regular meeting of the Port Commission was Thursday, April 2, 2014.

At the meeting, commissioners took public input on the design concepts for the Mariner’s Memorial.

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The Port Commission is moving forward with the second of three design concepts for the proposed Mariner’s Memorial.

Concept #2, hybrid design - Image courtesy of Corvus Design

Concept #2, hybrid design – Image courtesy of Corvus Design

All three designs were created by landscape architect Chris Mertl of Juneau-based company, Corvus Design.

Concept one was more of an open park plan with spaces for people to mingle and walk around. Concept three was a serene sanctuary plan with space for quiet contemplation.

Mertl says concept two is a hybrid that focuses on the visitor’s journey through the memorial.

“So with concept two, the idea is that you move through the site. As you move from A to B through the site from the entry to the pavilion, you have no choice but to interact and to recognize and see the memorial and realize all those that have been lost and the importance that the water and the mariners and the history and the culture of Wrangell is interpreted in the walls,” says Mertl.

Quarter circle memorial walls with the names of lost mariners dot the site. Mertl says the shape of the walls pays homage to the sea.

“The walls would be curved so they could be something that is associated with water or waves. There was a great idea where as you look at some names, looking toward the water might be those that are truly lost at sea, but people on the other side of the wall may be just people who have worked on the water but perhaps died at home,” says Mertl.

After an hour-long public work session, the Port Commission voted unanimously to adopt concept two as a rough design.

Port Commission chair Brennan Eagle says community input led to a few modifications of the concept.

“We would like a little more seating area using propeller benches within the concept. We wanted a spot to display flags, probably at the entryway there. We really liked one part of one of the designs which allowed access down to the water using a stair system to get down to the water. So, we’re going to ask our landscape architect to include that in there. Then, the concept of moving with a full walkway along the breakwater, we’re going to ask how that could be included too,” says Eagle.

Eagle says he and commissioner John Yeager plan to meet with Chris Mertl to move into the next design phase.

“He’ll come back to us with a final concept drawing. Then we’ll approve that concept drawing when that comes back to us. Then we’re going to decide at that point in time whether we’re going to request him to give us the build and bid documents along with that and then start trying to solicit the funding for this,” says Eagle.

Eagle says the updated design should be done within a month.