The Recreational Boating Association of Washington (RBAW) has entered into a purchase-and-sale agreement to acquire Lakebay Marina, a historic marina located on the Key Peninsula in Pierce County. The sale is scheduled to be finalized in September 2020, after which the RBAW plans to donate the marina to Washington State Parks and Recreation as a public marine park.
After a series of problems in recent years related to regulations, the future of the marina was uncertain. The RBAW was concerned that the property would be sold to private developers and lost for public use forever. They began negotiations for purchasing the property earlier this year and begun fundraising the $1.25 million needed to buy the marina. So far $275,000 has been raised, with $250,000 coming from the Pierce County 2020-21 Biennial Budget, largely due to the support of Councilmember Derrick Young. The RBAW plans to raise the rest with donations from the boating community and recreational organizations.
“Lakebay Marina is an important part of the Key Peninsula’s community history and economic future,” said Young in a press release. “I have no doubt the purchase of the Lakebay Marina will facilitate public access to boating and recreation activities throughout the South Sound.”
Lakebay Marina has a history that stretches back 135 years. The original pier was constructed by Carl Lorenz, who built the first sawmill in the area and owned a small fleet of cargo ships. The building on the pier was built in 1928 and served as an egg and poultry co-op. After the co-op closed in the 1950s, the structure became a marina. In 2019, Lakebay Marina was added to the Pierce County Register of Historic Places.
Since its founding, one of the main missions of the RBAW is to preserve public spaces for boaters; in the 1950s the association purchased large amounts of land on Sucia Island in the San Juans before a developer filled the island with vacation homes. Today, Sucia is a highlight of the state marine park system, with thousands of feet of public moorage.
“In addition to being an important part of Pierce County’s history, generations of Pierce County residents and boaters from across the region have enjoyed Lakebay Marina,” said Bob Wise, RBAW President. “We have an opportunity to preserve a facility for generations to come and to create a public asset that will be a major recreational, boating, and tourism draw for the entire South Sound. Keeping a marina like this in the public domain forever would be a great honor.”
If interested in learning more or donating to the purchase of Lakebay Marina, reach out to Bob Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org.