Council considers boat ramp request

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 9, 2000

Coal Grove – Village Council will seek grant dollars for developing an Ohio River boat ramp.

Wednesday, February 09, 2000

Coal Grove – Village Council will seek grant dollars for developing an Ohio River boat ramp. Council members heard the boat ramp request from resident Mike Drummond and received information about potential funding from Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization grant writers during a special meeting last week.

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"This would be a good opportunity for Coal Grove," Drummond said, adding that the river needs another access point in the county.

Building a ramp on village land near the water treatment plant – commonly called "the point" – would provide that access and boost tourism, he said.

The village has an opportunity to apply for grant funding that would not require local matching dollars, said Doug Cade, CAO special projects coordinator.

In addition to the community service that river access ports, courtesy docks, fishing piers and picnic shelters could provide, tourism dollars also flow from such recreation projects, Cade said.

Boaters who use ramps typically spend about $50 each as they travel through communities, according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources statistics.

Council members agreed that seeking grant dollars for a boat ramp and parking lot is a feasible idea, voting Thursday to give the CAO the go-ahead in asking an engineering firm to review the project with village council and submit an estimated cost at no charge to the village.

An Ohio Division of Watercraft grant would provide 100 percent funding, Cade said.

Also, the grant is seldom used, which increases the chance of the village receiving the nod from state authorities, he added.

A handicapped accessible boat ramp would score additional points, Cade said.

The grant application must be submitted by April 1.

Cost estimates, a check of liability insurance requirements and discussion of future upkeep and maintenance of the ramp are needed, though, council members said.

"I feel it would be a great thing for the village to provide and upkeep will be no problem," councilman Ray Bentley said.

A village ramp would provide river access for fishermen and area residents who already travel to Ashland, Ky., to put their boat in the water, Bentley said.

"If there’s a big cost, I don’t think it would be approved because we have to watch our dollars," he said.

Councilman John Aldridge questioned whether roadway access is adequate enough.

"It would bring more people into our area and help build Coal Grove up," Aldridge said.

"But the only question is work on the railroad crossing bars, and the only access is a narrow road, which only has certain amount of right of way," he said. "We need space to alleviate jams."