State Grant To Help Improve Boat Ramp

SALISBURY – A $99,000 state grant is expected to benefit a construction project at the Riverside Boat Ramp in Salisbury.

On Tuesday, the Wicomico County Council voted to accept a $99,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to complete improvements at the Riverside Boat Ramp.

“I think it’s a pretty straight-forward project,” Councilman Bill McCain said.

In a work session earlier this month, Pam Oland, deputy director of Wicomico County Recreation, Parks and Tourism, came before the council with a request to accept the grant. She said the funding would be used to finish ongoing improvements at the boat ramp.

“This is a project we have been trying to undertake for several years,” she said. “The estimate of it was much greater than what we had anticipated when we originally put this in the CIP several years ago.”

Oland said the department used grant funding for each phase of construction.

“Unfortunately, each time we got to the next phase it became a little bit more expensive,” she said. “So we have cobbled together multiple grants to accomplish this project.”

Oland said the latest grant, which was awarded in June, would be the county’s last. But to accept the grant, she noted the council must first amend the county’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

“We were hopeful we would get it but we weren’t 100% sure, so it didn’t make it into this year’s CIP,” she said. “And by the time we were sure, we missed the deadline to get it in this year’s budget.”

If approved, Oland said the funding would allow the county to make the boat ramp a designated state boat ramp.

Council President John Cannon questioned if there were any drawbacks to accepting the grant. But Oland said she could see no issue.

“There is no match and we get a boat ramp that is now up to code and meets all the requirements that we need,” she said.

Oland added that the ramp could be completed for the fall season.

“We did have the option to try to wait until after this boating season, but the contractor assured us if we got started it would be ready for the fall season,” she said. “So we did move ahead, and that’s why we’re asking this to be put in a legislative meeting as soon as possible, to amend the CIP and allow us to accept this grant.”

Back on the agenda for approval this week, the council voted unanimously to accept the $99,000 grant.

“It was later determined this is not a CIP project,” Council Administrator Laura Hurley said. “So the resolution is to accept and allocate the grant funds.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.