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State Funding New
Public Boat Ramp
BY DOUG RIITTER
Varnamtown's public boat ramp,
which has accommodated thousands
of skifts over the years, will lie re
built this winter with funds provided
by the state.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources
Commission has agreed to spend up
to $25,000 to rebuild the crumbling
launch and help establish a parking
area at the end of Fisherman Road
on Lock wood Folly River.
"They are furnishing us the
funds," said Mayor Judy Galloway,
who hopes $25,000 will be enough
for the project. "We are required to
construct it, maintain it and provide
A contractor will be hired soon to
build a concrete ramp 16 feet wide
and 72 feet long. The project will in
clude a 3-foot-wide pier between the
ramp and a bulkhead at Garland's
Don Tobaben, program manager
with the N.C. Division of Boating
and Inland Fisheries, said the wild
life commission approved the fund
ing last month after considering
boating access needs in the area.
"We've done this in the past," he
said. "It's not a real common thing
but we have done it before."
More often, the wildlife commis
sion takes over ownership of public
ramps and continues to maintain
Tobaben said the state has a limit
ed amount of funds that can be used
for maintenance of boat ramps. The
wildlife commission maintains 160
ramps across the state, including six
in Brunswick County.
"We don't really need to add a
whole lot more right now," Tobaben
said. "If we can get somebody to
take care of it, either a city or county,
it takes some of the burden off us."
Varnamtown is responsible for
designing the ramp, hiring a contrac
tor to build it and maintaining the
facility. The town must provide
parking and allow boat launching
free to the public to receive the state
"They're going to be required to
keep it open as a public access area
at no charge." Tobaben said. "They
will take carc of the area as far as
Galloway said State Rep. David
Redwine helped secure the state
funds after an earlier town request
for a grant was rejected.
"He got it for us," the mayor said
last week. "That's all 1 know, and he
should be praised some too."
Town officials are proceeding
with the project despite division in
the community over a new ramp.
Many townspeople want the im
provements because the old ramp is
in poor condition and causes dam
age to boats.
However, another group is against
the new ramp. They're afraid it will
bring unwanted traffic to town and
make existing parking problems
near the river even worse.
The town board received petitions
for and against the project.
"1 really think once it gels in there
most of the people will be pleased,"
Galloway said. "There's a lot of
people in Varnamtown who haven't
North Carolina Municipal
Bonds are exempt from
Federal, state and local taxes.
You keep 100% of what you
earn ? and that's what
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102 S. Second Street
Wilmington. NC 2X401
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Marfcat condifcona may aft eel pocM. Subjacl to
availability and aarty call for radamption AWT may
apply Anumat 31% Fadaral and 7% Stata tax
been able to use it."
Two of the main objections to a
new ramp ? the lack of parking
spaces and the lack of room it would
leave fishermen to unload shell
fish ? have been resolved.
The new ramp will be pushed
over to the left side when approach
ing from Fisherman Road, leaving
the right side open for fishermen to
unload oysters and clams.
Also, the town plans to lease a
parking area adjacent to Garland's
Seafood House that would provide
space for approximately 20 vehicles
with boat trailers.
Varnamtown will pay landowners
Nicky and Jackie Varnam $2,19()
per year for the parking lot. Plans
call for a 15-year lease, with cost in
creases possible after the first five
Galloway said the town board will
be accepting bids on ramp construc
tion through Dec. 6 and could award
a contract at its Dec. 13 meeting.
The major development permit
the town received for the project al
lows a floating dock as part of the
ramp, but the mayor said there are
no immediate plans to build a dock.
"With all of the objections we had
we tried to keep it as simple as pos
sible," she said. "We can always add
that later if we need to."
STAFF PHOTO BY ERIC CAKISON
Sharing The Spirit
Ella Johnson of Shallotte claps along with the spiritual melodies of
the Coastal Voices gospel singers at the Festival By The Sea at
Holden Beach Sunday afternoon.
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