Boat ramp site narrowed to 2
Nearly 50 Harrison County residents and other interested parties gathered last Wednesday night at the Harrison County Government Center to learn more about the potential Ohio River boat ramp project.
Strand Associates, the group hired to complete the site location study, narrowed the list to two main sites: one near the meeting of state roads 211 and 111 and the other in Mauckport near S.R. 135.
Harrison County’s southern border has 45 miles of shoreline along the Ohio River with only one public boat ramp for citizens to use, but the ramp is not well-maintained or suitable for more than a few boats.
The county has 4,198 registered fishing licenses and an additional 9,305 boaters registered in Harrison, Crawford, Floyd and Washington counties.
‘A public boat ramp would not only grant river access to Harrison County citizens, but also encourage those from the surrounding counties to visit,’ a Strand Associates representative said.
The Harrison County Commissioners, if they vote to proceed with the project, will have the final say on which site to select, and then would request funding from the county council.
The estimated total cost of the site near Elizabeth is $1.8 million while the Mauckport site comes in at $1.2 million. Both estimates include the total package of amenities including sports fields, walking paths, concession areas, rest rooms, benches, picnic tables, grills, boat loading piers, parking lots, shelter houses, playgrounds, splash parks and amphitheaters. The Elizabeth site could also include a campground.
The group spoke about multiple grants that could be secured to help pay for the project, including the Harrison County Community Foundation and Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The recommended site near Elizabeth is located immediately south of the intersection of state roads 211 and 111. The parcel is split by S.R. 111, leaving 31 acres directly along the river and 38 acres on the other side of S.R. 111, which Strand Associates recommends for camping. The site is 85 percent woodland and 14 percent tillable land and has 0.22 mile of shoreline and 0.22 mile of road frontage.
‘The site contains ample footage of both road access and river access,’ Strand representatives said.
The property owners are Burl, Doris and Sandy Hoke.
The recommended sites for the Mauckport project includes the existing public boat ramp. The site could include three parcels, all an acre or less in size, which is 53 percent woodland and 46 percent tillable. It has .13 mile of shoreline and 0.04 mile of road frontage to Main Street.
Stanley Kingsley is the owner of the southern two parcels, and the town of Mauckport owns the other.
Strand representatives said there’s no known negative environmental impacts on either the Mauckport or Elizabeth sites, but archeological studies have yet to be completed.
County engineer Kevin Russel said the Harrison County Parks Department would most likely be responsible for maintaining the boat ramp area.
As for a timeline for construction, Russel said everything would have to go smooth with approval of the board of commissioners and county council for it to begin next summer.
Hugh Burns, Elizabeth town manager, said he and the town support the project, as does Posey Township Trustee Steve Smith.