Haines Borough Public Facilities Director Brad Ryan updated about 35 people on the harbor expansion project at a town hall meeting Aug. 25.

He said borough attorneys will decide by Friday, Sept. 2, whether to release a request for proposals to fund the design of the prospective Portage Cove Interpretive Trail.

“We’re making sure we’re not going to end up in a lawsuit with Cruise Lines International Association about misusing cruise ship passenger vessel head tax funds,” Ryan said.

If the attorneys decide it’s not advisable to release the RFP, Ryan said the borough manager can decide whether to put the issue to the assembly.

Ryan said the conceptual design of the trail will cost $20,000 to $40,000. Current plans call for the trail to start at the Portage Cove state campground, go past the harbor and end at Picture Point. The cost also includes developing a plan to move Lookout Park and produce interpretive signs.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game verbally committed to the borough to move Lookout Park if that is included in a final plan, Ryan said. The borough still needs to sign a cooperative agreement with the department.

Trail design cost estimates do not include construction funds, Ryan said.

The first phase of the harbor expansion project went to bid Aug. 24. The project is set for a land use permit hearing at the Sept. 8 planning commission meeting. Bids will close at 2 p.m. Sept. 21. The assembly will select a successful bidder at the Sept. 27 assembly meeting and notify them on Sept. 28. Phase 1 of the harbor project is set to be completed by June 29, 2018.

At the Aug. 25 meeting, several residents asked about the proposed parking area, now called “Harbor Park.”

“You can thank George Figdor for calling it Harbor Park now. He told me I needed a better message,” Ryan said.

Residents Debra Schnabel and Anne Boyce questioned why there was no year-round, operational plan for use of the parking area.

“It’s a summer need. The off-season, that’s another issue,” Ryan said.

Harbor Park will be a rock-surfaced parking lot with room for green spaces, Ryan said. He said now is the time for the public to have their voices heard on what the Harbor Park will look like.