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Commissioners table Morvin’s Landing boat ramp request

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday morning heard a request for funding of a boat ramp at Morvin’s Landing near Mauckport, at a cost of $670,000.
The request, made by Harrison County Parks Supt. Rand Heazlitt and parks board chair Larry Shickles, would include a ‘relatively simple’ boat ramp and a ‘nice’ parking lot.
It would not include a floating boat dock at this point, Heazlitt said.
The request includes $10,000 to increase electricity availability, which will allow for a proposed high-definition camera on the area which could be monitored by the sheriff’s department.
Shickles said the prosecutor’s office and sheriff’s department have a plan to provide the cameras to the parks department for multiple sites throughout county parks.
The needed road improvements, leading from S.R. 111 to the river, would be a separate expense, at an estimated cost of $540,000.
Commissioner Kenny Saulman said he didn’t understand why the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources backed out of its apparent funding commitment for the project.
‘They came to our meetings twice and said they had money and wanted to help,’ he said. ‘I think we have some undercurrents in that area right now that are working hard to make sure we don’t get a boat dock there at Morvin’s Landing.’
Heazlitt said he thought that was a fair assessment of the situation.
‘We went from being primary No. 1 fund-able project to, all the sudden, we weren’t,’ he said.
Heazlitt then said they were told it was not a project they would award because of the Brandenburg boat ramp across the river.
He said DNR officials expressed the desire to have a public boat ramp every 10 miles on the Indiana side of the Ohio River shoreline. Harrison County has approximately 47 miles of shoreline.
Shickles said the funding cycle for DNR is every two years and a site west of Madison received funding for the previous cycle.
‘Do we need to fund it ourselves and make it happen, or do we try and wait on the next funding cycle and try to get permitted again and probably face many of these same constraints and restrictions again?’ Heazlitt asked. ‘That’s where we are in our dialogue. We’ve looked at other grants; doesn’t appear to be anything on the table that we have access to.’
Commissioner Jim Klinstiver made a motion to take the request under advisement. It passed 3-0.
In other business, the board learned Harrison County received a wastewater, drinking water grant from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs on behalf of South Harrison Water Corp. for water system improvements in the unincorporated limits of Washington Township.
The project will include the installation of 13 fire hydrants.
The grant is for $442,735 with a local match, provided by the Heth-Washington Volunteer Fire Dept. of $350,000.
‘I hope Heth-Washington fire department receives some kind of recognition for them willing to donate some of their money to help the people of that township down there,’ Saulman said. ‘That’s a pretty big deal, I think.’
The board also approved the closure of the Harrison County Circuit Court Clerk’s office on Sept. 12, when all employees will attend training at Horseshoe Southern Indiana as part of the Southern District Clerk’s Association fall conference.