Ashland Ore Dock Might be Saved

Posted at: 06/05/2013 6:10 PM
Updated at: 06/05/2013 6:38 PM

The Soo Line ore dock in Ashland has been around for almost 100 years. But it's coming down, piece by piece.

This breaks the heart of certain Ashland natives, like John Chapple, who have personal connections to the dock.

"My family learned how to swim out there. For generations, really. It's our fervent hope to save part of this structure," he said. The former CEO of Nextel has been negotiating with CN, the owner of the dock, for a possible solution.

He told us on Wednesday there is a draft contract in place. "The trick is to have everyone sign it, of course. CN has been very reasonable to work with. They have liability concerns, and want to hand it off. We'd like to take the property, but can't assume too much liability either."

He's hoping there will be compromise.

Others who are part of the Ore Dock Heritage Park group, like Jeff Peters, said that they hope to turn the area into a family destination.

"We're envisioning a maritime interpretive center, a fishing pier, and a boating place," Peters said.

CN has been in demolition mode since last fall. Less than half of the 1800 foot long structure remains, according to the group.

The dock was crucial during the mining boom. It was built in 1916, and it was a big part of the mining industry until 1965.

Dan Williams and Bruce Lunde are waterfront planners who are helping with the project. They're going to use public input on final designs for something for the future.

The group met with civic leaders from around Ashland on Wednesday afternoon, to give them updates about their vision and the status with CN.