Columbia Park's Hydroplane History and New Upgrade
The hydroplane display is one of the first things most people see when they enter Columbia Park.
KENNEWICK, WA- The hydroplane display is one of the first things most people see when they enter Columbia Park. The boat has been in place for many years and is a special part of Water Follies history.
The structure has gone through many changes and will be making another one this year.
"A couple years ago we put a man-lift team up there and got to see just what condition that hydroplane was at. We're seeing that all of the decking is peeling and the fiberglass is coming off. It's really in disrepair," said Kathy Powell, Water Follies Event Director.
The first boat was a shoulder nose design with a rounded front. "It was in such disarray that it had to come down, and it sat down in downtown Kennewick for a lot of years. The plan was to rebuild that boat, but it was so far gone that it wasn't repairable," said Pit Chairman Kevin Smith.
A group of volunteers helped put up a new one in 1998. They had to fix it seven years later.
"There was a lot of rot on the boat. Another group of volunteers took it off and we put it back up for the 40th anniversary," said Smith. That project took a couple of months to complete. Then in 2010, Tracy Osterhout, one of the main designers, died.
"It's very unfortunate we lost Tracy a couple years ago. Tracy was a hydroplane racer and had some boats. He was the main contributor to the repairs that were made on the boat that's on the pole now," said Powell.
The new boat will honor Tracy and his work.
The extreme hot and cold temperatures have caused the boat to rot, but fixing it will be a year long process.
"Who knows what's to come with the next one," said Smith