Chelan County and Chelan PUD are moving forward with plans for a waterfront Park in Malaga. 

Improvements would be made to a shoreline area on the Columbia River that would serve the roughly 5,000 people who live in the Malaga area. 

Lisa Downing with the county says the chosen location for the park is designed to connect residents to recreational activities on the water.  

"It's centrally located to downtown Malaga," said Downing. "Our velocity and flow analysis shows that this is one of the few areas that had optimal conditions for watercraft access and swimming and wading. And then in addition to that, it also has topography that makes access to the waterfront feasible." 

Current plans include a pedestrian and bike path that would extend from the Malaga waterfront park to the Apple Capital Loop Trail. 

The county is in the process securing grant money and other sources to finance the project. It's also about to move further into the design phase of the park and begin the permitting process.  

The Chelan PUD would contribute the boat launch at the park, which would support its relicensing requirement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to operate the Rock Island Dam. 

The new license in 2023 will require the PUD to invest in protection, mitigation and enhancement measures. The boat launch would qualify as an enhancement measure. 

The waterfront park site sits between the Columbia River and BNSF Railroad tracks. The site location was specifically chosen because it contains a railroad crossing to bridge the barrier created by the tracks. 

Plans for the waterfront park also include connecting it to Malaga's existing park, which is small and limited for recreation options. 

"We will be able to revisit that park and, kind of, fold it into a larger plan for an expanded plan for an expanded network of recreation in Malaga, which we think is a pretty exciting opportunity," Downing said. 

A site suitability study for the park is being financed with $515,000 from the county and $37,000 from the PUD. 

There'll be more advanced design work for the park performed in the coming year. 

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