Town will not seek boat ramp grant
by Tom Chillemi
A $78,000 grant for a new boat ramp had too many strings attached and the Urbanna Town Council has decided to decline the offer.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) grant would have required 24 parking spaces, and that the ramp be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and be handicapped accessible.
“This grant may not be what we are looking for,” interim town administrator Holly Gailey told the town council at its August 19 meeting.
The engineering drawings alone would cost $12,500, and the grant could still be rejected by VDGIF after the town had spent that money.
During discussion, council member Joe Heyman said the criteria for the VDGIF ramp required that boats of all sizes could be launched there. The current ramp is designed for small boats and is adequate, he said.
One problem with the current ramp is that there is a drop-off at the end of the concrete. If a loaded trailer drops a wheel in the hole, it can be very difficult to pull out a boat.
The drop-off is caused by boaters who rev up their engines to push a boat onto the trailer. The prop wash blows away the creek bottom.
During the general public comment period, town resident Billy Mayo said extending the existing ramp could solve the drop-off problem.
Town resident Bob Calves said dropping the grant was the right decision and there is not enough room to launch and take out large boats at the marina. He supported maintenance of the existing ramp.