BRADENTON -- The West Coast Island Navigation District is a boater's best friend, and they are about to make it easier for those boaters before they get into the water. The WCIND will be matching funds with the City of Palmetto to make their boat ramp experience even better, which was the topic of a special work session on Tuesday.
The WCIND gave a report on their dredging project status. Charlie Hunsiker, Natural Resource Department Director, started out by explaining the challenge his department was having with volume. "We have 38 projects asked to be moved forward, 24 additional projects in the files, 52 all together and just 3 people to do the work."
The three that make up the team are Jayne Souders, Sr. Fiscal Analyst; Maggie Marr, Grants Coordinator; and Alan Laihipp, Marine Resource Coordinator. They are responsible for all of the documents, charts, keeping up on the 5 year plan as well as the many required reports.
Most of the talk was of the need to improve the Riverside Boat Ramp in Palmetto. Palmetton CRA Director Jeff Burton had worked out most of the details with Hunsicker, who in turn had ironed out most of the wrinkles with Chuck Listowski, Executive Director West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND), to assist with matching funds that would widen the boat ramp and provide more parking.
The cost, $700,000.00, is to be shared equally by the City of Palmetto and the WCIND. The handicapped parking will be moved and the lane islands removed, in order to accommodate more parking. Hunsicker reminded the commission that the boat ramp is a regional facility that will serve many, "It's just located in Palmetto."
The total amount of funds the WCIND had budgeted was $772,000. WCIND has spent $153,239.39 as January 9, 2012, leaving a unspent balance of $618,760.61. There are also grant application projects that have an unspent balance of $1,562,031.
Some of the other WCIND projects are: Manatee River Dredging, (Ft. Hammer), Bradenton Beach Intracoastal Waterways Dredging (Coquina Boat Ramp), City of Anna Maria Waterway Dredging (La Vista) and Bradenton Beach (North Coquina) Dredging.
Commissioner McClash, himself an avid sailor, said we need to keep an eye out for channel markers that lose their identification flags or reflectors, and try and take care of them right away, as they can be dangerous.
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