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LR marina cleared

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The Times reported last year that the Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard had raised objections to the Rock City Yacht Club marina proposed by Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter for acreage on the south side of the Arkansas River just east of the Clinton Library.

The federal agencies were concerned that the marina would be too close to the shipping channel of the river and the sometimes unwieldy barge traffic it carries.

Problem solved. We learned this week that the Corps and Coast Guard had signed off on changes in design that moved marina construction 50 feet toward land from the rock dikes that help preserve the navigation channel. Permits were approved in July and developers have until the end of 2015 to get the work done. Burkhalter didn't return a call about specifics on construction, but he would seem to be serious. He recently received a $411,000 grant from the state Game and Fish Commission to build a boat ramp on city-owned property to serve customers at the marina, which will have about 400 slips for boats and another 75 spots for personal watercraft.

Burkhalter, who's talked about running for governor as a Democrat in 2014, has sent signals to people associated with the project that his busy business agenda likely means he won't be entering the political arena.

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