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County opens ramp talks with Mauckport

Representatives from the Harrison County Board of Commissioners visited the Mauckport Town Council Monday night, Feb. 6, to begin discussions about the possible construction of a county-owned boat ramp in the town.
County engineer Kevin Russel and Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes traveled to conduct a brief introduction to the project, explaining two possible locations for the ramp: one near state roads 211 and 111 and another near S.R. 135.
Russel also said the existing ramp at Mauckport could be an option.
‘We talked a bit about how the inclusion of a camping area could potentially generate revenue to help with the operation and maintenance costs,’ Russel said.
Russel said the county will continue with the study and keep the lines of communication open with Mauckport.
The county approved $39,000 last fall for a feasibility study for a boat ramp on the Ohio River.
District 3 Commissioner Jim Klinstiver said he sees the project as a part of economic development.
‘There’s more than 40 miles of shoreline in the county,’ he said in September. ‘We need to start using it.’
He said the company conducting the study, Strand Associates, will provide two possible ramp locations.
Plans besides the ramp include a parking lot, boat loading pier, fishing area, shelter house, utilities, playground, amphitheater and recreational fields.
Russel said the Ohio River makes up the entire southern county border and, yet, there’s no public access to it. He said the Harrison County Parks Department would be a stakeholder in the discussion and the ramp and surrounding area could eventually become a county park.
He said Harrison County is the only Indiana county along the river without public access. He also said a ramp would be helpful for law enforcement and emergency management.
Mathes said a boat ramp along the Ohio River in the county is a long time coming and the county only takes advantage of the river in two ways: Horseshoe Southern Indiana casino and Mulzer’s Quarry in New Amsterdam.
In November, the commissioners took a tour of area boat ramps as part of Strand’s feasibility study. The group visited eight ramps throughout the Louisville metro area. One of the group’s most-liked ramp/parks was River Park in Brandenburg.
The board will also take a trip today (Wednesday) to view another ramp in Owensboro, Ky.