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Grant funding requested for boat ramp

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday night agreed to move forward with a grant request for the Ohio River boat-ramp project.
The grant, The Bicentennial Nature Trust, has a maximum of $300,000 for any one project; it also requires a one-to-one match.
The commissioners will ask the Harrison County Council and the Harrison County Community Foundation for the commitment for the matching funds.
The Bicentennial Nature Trust was created by Gov. Mitch Daniels in January to protect more of the state’s ‘most precious natural spaces,’ he said.
‘On our 100th birthday, Indiana launched its state park system,’ Daniels, when the trust was created, said. ‘A statewide conservation initiative is a fitting sequel and bequest from our second century to our third. The trust is intended to inspire others and to match their donations of land or dollars in a continuing statewide surge of conservation. The (Bicentennial) commission joins me in challenging citizens, businesses and, in particular, our unique network of county community foundations, to identify and fund local projects that will safeguard places of beauty for future generations.’
According to the program guidelines, the primary intent of the trust is property protection/acquisition that will become part of the public trust for all Hoosiers to enjoy.
Harrison County Engineer Kevin Russel, who presented the request, believes the boat-ramp project fits the criteria.
Earlier this summer, the county hired Strand Associates at a cost of nearly $40,000 to complete a boat-ramp study.
In June, the group 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 study showed.
The commissioners have not made a decision on which site to pursue.
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 such as 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 boat-ramp project was not the only project seeking the county’s support for The Bicentennial Nature Trust funding Monday night.
Marian Pearcy, a member of the legacy committee for the Bicentennial planning group in Harrison County, said they have looked at several tracts of land to possibly enter for funding from the trust.
‘Harrison County has so much history important to Indiana,’ Pearcy said. ‘We’re just asking you to consider us.’
Pearcy said they do have one particular site in mind, which is associated with Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s raid through Harrison County, but the owner of the property is in Florida so she declined to discuss the exact location.
In other business Monday night, Commissioner Jim Klinstiver hired Steven L. Day of Day Consulting to provide project development, planning and grant writing. Klinstiver will fund the endeavor, $5,000 per month, out of his special-projects fund.
Klinstiver said Day has an excellent track record with the remodeling of the old Elizabeth school.
Day, who is currently the assistant engineer for the county, resigned that position Monday night, effective Oct. 1, because of the conflict of interest after the commissioners agreed to allow Klinstiver to hire Day Consulting.
‘I don’t know whether to be mad or jealous,’ Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes said.
Mathes said he’d be mad because the county is losing a good employee and he’s jealous because District 3 has a personal consultant and he doesn’t.
‘If he (Klinstiver) thinks it’s for the best, I’m all for it,’ Mathes said.
Animal Control Officer Bruce LaHue received permission from the board to sell a female Sorel horse that was found in the Watson-Union Chapel Road area Sept. 11. The horse is in good physical shape, but an owner has yet to come forward.
‘We posted information and a picture on our social networking site and have done a house-to-house canvas surrounding the area where the horse was found with negative results on locating the owner,’ LaHue said.
The horse will become property of Harrison County today (Wednesday).
The board also took bids for a rescue truck for the Palmyra Volunteer Fire Dept. under advisement. The cost of the truck recommended by the department totaled nearly $320,000.