Big plans for Meadowdale wharf

EDMONDS – The pier has stood decaying, unoccupied, for nearly five years.

It was once a bustling public place, boats being lowered into the water and later lifted out full of salmon.

Milo Milosavljevic says it can be that way again.

Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

The old Meadowdale Marine wharf’s new owner has plans to restore the dock and buildings to their fishing pier glory days.

Milosavljevic and his sister, Slobodanka Stepanovic, plan to redevelop the former Haines wharf at 16111 76th Place W. in Meadowdale into a working fishing dock and boat-storage facility again.

Milosavljevic and Stepanovic are natives of Serbia. Stepanovic, who lives in Australia, is supplying most of the financial backing, and Milosavljevic is managing the project, he said.

Milosavljevic, who says he loves boats and the water, also wants to put in a new snack shop, reminiscent of the dock’s heyday; a shop with scuba and fishing gear, boat rentals, parking for 120 cars and open space for the public.

“It’s going to be very spectacular,” Milosavljevic said.

He ran into an obstacle recently when the city of Edmonds rejected his rebuilding plan. Milosavljevic plans to replace the pier’s original wooden pilings with concrete ones, repair the existing concrete pilings and preserve the building.

This will involve rebuilding the northern, wooden part of the pier, temporarily moving the building onto that portion while redoing the southern part, then moving it back.

City regulations no longer allow structures to be built over the water. Existing structures can remain if they are not moved, and the city says Milosavljevic’s plan doesn’t comply.

Milosavljevic disagrees and plans to appeal to the state Shoreline Hearings Board.

“We still believe that what we’re doing meets their codes,” he said. But even if the rebuilding plan is turned down again, Milosavljevic said he’ll find another way to get the project done.

“We’re going to get that permit no matter what,” he said. “It’ll just be a little more headache and engineering involved.”

Milosavljevic would not say how much will be spent to rebuild the dock.

Capt. H.F. Haines built the wharf in 1939, having its main building brought over from Irondale, near Port Townsend, by barge, according to his granddaughter, Jan Hansen of Shoreline.

The family ran a boat-storage operation, boat launch, fishing tackle shop and snack shop on the wharf until the 1970s. It was known as the Herb Haines Sport Fishing wharf.

Jan Hansen photo

The Haines wharf rented small fishing boats that were launched from this pier.

“My baby stroller was on that wharf a lot,” said Hansen, now 62.

The family had 150 small fishing boats for rent, said Hansen’s husband Ron, 65.

“There were many, many times when all 150 of those boats would be out,” he said. “There’d be a line (of cars) a mile long of people waiting to get in.”

The family sold the wharf to another owner in 1976. Five years later, the Hansens took it back and ran it as Meadowdale Marine until 2001.

“We actually made a little money at it for a while,” said Ron Hansen, a partner in an accounting firm in Edmonds and a Shoreline City Councilman.

The business converted from renting boats to storing them, with room for 200. In fishing season, they’d start work early, about 3 a.m., he said.

“By 5 o’clock we’d have 50 of those 20- to 24-foot boats put out,” Ron Hansen said. “I saw a lot of beautiful sunrises.”

In the early 1990s, fish runs declined and the state closed Puget Sound from the southern end of Edmonds to the southern end of Mukilteo to salmon fishing.

“That was our death knell,” Ron Hansen said. “It just killed the business.”

The Hansens sold to Stepanovic in 2001 for about $400,000, Hansen said.

For the past two years, Area 9 has reopened to salmon fishing from Feb. 1 to April 15, with size restrictions, and from Aug. 1 to Nov. 30, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The area is open year-round for other types of fish, including sturgeon, mackerel, anchovy, surf perch, trout and tuna.

Once the rebuilding is started, Milosavljevic estimates it’ll take about a year. He hopes to start work this summer.

“We’re going to catch a big fish,” he said.

Reporter Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439 or sheets@heraldnet.com.

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