Boat landing repairs are first phase of East Bay Park renovations

  • Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Scott Harper/Times The Bobby Alford Center, once the hub of activity at East Bay Park, is now rarely used.

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The renovations at the East Bay Park boat landing are complete but other changes are expected to take place elsewhere in the park.

The improvements at the landing were the work of McSweeney Engineers and Seamon Whiteside and Associates. Salmons Dredging of Charleston completed renovations of the boat ramp in December.

The work — which cost about $740,000 — was paid for, in part, by $101,200 Coastal Public Access Improvement Grant from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The grant required the city to chip-in a 10 percent match.

The other needed funds were from the city’s Hospitality Taxes, City Administrator Chris Carter said.

The first thing many people notice is a new line of trees that now line the front of the landing.

Carter says the docks have been expanded and can now be used not only by fishing and other motorized boats but also by non-motorized vessels such as kayaks and paddle boats. These types of vessels can be placed in the water and removed easier than before the renovations took place.

A gazebo for picnicking has also been added to “make the area more amenable to boaters and park patrons that frequent the landing,” city leaders said.

With the landing complete, Georgetown City Council will now look at other areas of East Bay Park.

One thing Mayor Jack Scoville has asked for — which he says can be done with little expense — is the creation of a dog park somewhere on the property.

There has also been discussion about the Bobby Alford Center, the gymnasium building in the center of East Bay Park, which is rarely used.

Carter said while refurbishing the building into an outdoor pavilion or using it for the Farmer’s Market were talked about, “no one seemed to feel this should be a top priority for improving the park.”

Council has also batted around the idea of possibly removing one of the ball fields across the boat landing to allow for more parking but there was opposition to that idea from some council members.

So, the idea is “we will roll forward with getting a development plan for East Bay Park and put the cost of the plan through the annual budget process,” Carter said.

The plans may be discussed when council holds a two-day planning retreat Jan. 24 and 25.

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