by Max Brantley
The blog reported recently the state Game and Fish Commission's decision to provide $411,000 to build a boat ramp on Little Rock park land on the south bank of the Arkansas River east of the Clinton Library. It would be part of the Rock City Yacht Club marina proposed by Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter.
I mentioned then that I'd written about the project last year, when the Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard were taking comments on the project. Both those agencies — and some river shippers — had objected to the original design because of concerns it might be too close to the river navigation channel.
I learned today that the Corps and Coast Guard's concerns were resolved by a redesign that moved the marina 50 feet back from the edge of rock dikes that help maintain the navigation channel. Chris Davies, regulatory manager for the corps, said the change satisfied all those who'd raised initial objections, both government agencies and private concerns. Here's the full permit, with project descriptions.
The necessary permits for construction on a navigable waterway and to comply with clean water rules (some dredging may be required) were issued July 12. In final form, the permits allow a 404-slip marina at 15 docks, with an additional 70 slips for personal watercraft, the Corps said. Burkhalter has until Dec. 31, 2015 to complete the project, but can also ask for extensions during that time. The engineering firm that did the plans referred questions to Burkhalter about a construction start date and time line. He was not available this morning.
I'd also like to ask Burkhalter how his thinking has evolved on a potential race for governor in 2014. He'd confirmed to me earlier that he was considering it. I sense from talking to others that the likelihood of this has decreased.