Shoemaker Bay in Wrangell was built in 1977. As of 2018, it’s cleared out and ready for a complete renovation. (June Leffler/ KSTK)


Shoemaker Bay is pretty quiet right now, as most of the prep work is done.

The city and Petersburg contractors Tamico and Rock-N-Road have been at work completely tearing apart the 41-year-old harbor. There’s basically no more pilings, floats, piers and ramps anymore. Some concrete work is being done in town for the main platform. And the dredging is complete, digging and dumping any excess material they can get from the harbor’s bottom.

Harbor Master Greg Meissner says the new harbor will accommodate everyone that was there before, plus some extra 40, 50 and 60-foot stalls.

Meissner says harbors across the region are looking to support larger commercial ships. Plus, folks with skiffs are ending up using the launch ramps, rather than docking their boats.

The city is now waiting for a surveyor to measure the harbor floor. Meissner hopes the dredging added about three feet to the harbor’s depth.

There’s been one hiccup that Meissner noted.


“It was anticipated there could be some rock shelf in there,”  he said. “And sure enough right as they start dredging they start hitting right about where they thought there might be rock.”

Once the surveyor visits, the city can assess how to handle the rock.

Otherwise things are going smoothly and on schedule according to Meissner. A contractor in Washington should begin constructing the floats next week.

The project is set to cost about $10 million, half paid for with an Alaska Department of Transportation grant, and the rest from the city. The parking lot will not be redone in this project.

Shoemaker Bay will be out of operation until summer of 2019.