Council OKs deal about boat ramp

Published 7:31 am Thursday, November 25, 2010

Contributing Editor

The city-owned boat ramp at Havens Gardens will be improved by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
An agreement providing for those improvements was approved by a 4-1 vote of the Washington City Council on Monday. Councilmen Bobby Roberson, William Pitt, Gil Davis and Edward Moultrie voted for the agreement. Councilman Doug Mercer voted against it, saying he was uncomfortable with a provision of the agreement that calls for the city to maintain the boat ramp for the next 50 years.
Mercer also expressed concerns the city would be obligated to make sure the improvements made by the commission were duplicated and paid for by the city if the those improvements were damaged, citing the provision requiring the city to maintain the boat ramp once the improvements are completed.
“I’m assuming, and I’m assuming again, that if something was put in by (the commission) and it fails, I’m assuming that (the commission) would take care of it,” said Phil Mobley, the city’s director of parks and recreation.
City Attorney Franz Holscher said it’s his opinion the city would be responsible for any repairs or replacements needed after the commission completed its improvements to the boat ramp.
For the most part, council members liked the agreement.
“We thought it was a pretty good deal,” Mobley said.
Under terms of the agreement, the commission agrees to the following items:
• Provide design development for repairs and improvements to the boat ramp, including the parking area.
• Obtain all regulatory permits required for repairs and improvements.
• Make all repairs and construct all improvements to the boat landing and adjacent courtesy docks.
The agreement requires the city to do the following:
• Provide free boat access, including vehicle and boat-trailer parking, 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no closure of the site, except for repairs, improvements or emergencies.
• Maintain the grounds around the boat ramp, including regularly mowing the grass and removing litter.
• Maintain the boat ramp, with no closure of the site, except for repairs, improvements or emergencies.
• Allow the commission to install a sign indicating the city and commission are partners in the site and the commission’s contribution to improving the boat ramp.
Plans call for the existing pier at the boat ramp to be replaced with a floating dock, according to city officials.