Boaters’ wait is rewarded

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 6, 2007

Sometimes good things do come to those who wait.

For the area’s boaters, Wednesday marked a long-awaited opening of the city’s paved boat ramp.

It might not seem like a big deal for those who don’t put a boat in the Blackwater River for a daily outing, but Wednesday’s opening was sort of an &uot;Independence Day&uot; for those who do. Especially since the much-anticipated project was delayed more than once.

The plans that were announced in May 2006 came with the usual optimist fanfare that accompanies such grand plans. And the plans were grand. The $1 million facility at Barrett’s Landing was to include a 32-foot-wide concrete double ramp, with two 60-foot L-shaped piers for boaters and fishermen alike and a paved parking area to accommodate 35 vehicles with trailers.

For boaters, it was almost too good to be true. Most of the existing ramps that lead to the Blackwater are narrow, few are paved and fewer still have that sort of room to maneuver.

But federal funding was not available when the bids were received, so the bidding process had to start anew, pushing back the starting date. Still, city officials said the ramp would open on time. It did not.

Regardless, public optimism of city officials to meet a the June starting date remained high, but delays in paving and landscaping pushed the opening date back again.

The City of Franklin donated a little more than 6.5 acres as part of its approximately $250,000 contribution to the $1 million project. Plus, the city paved the lot and the roadway leading to it.

When the ramp did open, boaters were waiting in the pre-dawn hours. And the amenities that awaited them likely will bring them back. The city facility may &uot;finally&uot; be open but it is one that will be used regularly for years.