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Martinez is on its way to becoming a kayak-friendly city.

The City Council on Wednesday approved spending up to $50,000 toward building a kayak launch at the guest dock at the Martinez Marina.

The idea of a kayak launch was initially part of the city’s grant application for more Proposition 68 money from the state to repair the deteriorating Martinez fishing pier, which the City Council has resisted closing over recommendations from an outside expert.

But it was determined before Wednesday’s meeting that a kayak launch would have to be approved separately from the pier. The grant specifically requires Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible paths from the parking lot to all amenities covered by the grant.

There is currently no ADA-compliant access to the guest dock, the city’s favored location for the launch. That would require a separate environmental review.

“There was so much community interest and support for this item, we thought it worthy of bringing forth for the council’s consideration,” said Deputy City Manager Michael Chandler.

The installation of the EZ Dock EZ Launch system could also include on-site kayak storage lockers.

A demonstration of the EZ Dock EZ Kayak Launch system being considered by Martinez. (Video courtesy of EZ Dock/YouTube)

The council officially approved the Prop. 68 application, asking for $6,429,351 in grant money to renovate the fishing pier and breakwater and renovate the walking and jogging trail around Ferry Point.

The city would also build a new restroom, construct a shaded picnic area, add outdoor exercise equipment at Ferry Point, do ADA upgrades to the parking lot, and construct a native garden at Ferry Point. New landscaping, lighting and irrigation, as well as historical signage, would be included.

“When this first started, I was only under the impression we were talking about repairing a dock that was not safe, or a fishing pier that was not safe,” said Mayor Rob Schroder. “This is a much, much more comprehensive vision for that part of our waterfront. It’s exciting.”

“When this first started, I was only under the impression we were talking about repairing a dock that was not safe, or a fishing pier that was not safe. This is a much, much more comprehensive vision for that part of our waterfront. It’s exciting.”

Mayor Rob Schroder

Councilman Mark Ross said it was important the project includes area history.

“Because the fish migration east and west and the avian migration north and south, with Mount Diablo looming in the distance, this was considered — in Native American culture for this area — as the center of the universe. I think that is an important part of history that we should celebrate and provide interpretation for,” Ross said.

Ross also said the project should include some acknowledgement of environmental issues such as water markers showing sea level rise.

Chandler said the city should hear from the state on its application by August. The money would likely be available by year’s end.

The pier is a popular regional draw, built in 1934, with parts rebuilt in 1976.

An outside expert has told the city special ordering pressure-treated timber and getting necessary permits and contractors in place could take six months before construction starts.