by GEOFF FOX
The Town of Hancock has secured a $250,000 grant that will pay for the engineering and construction of a boat ramp along the Potomac River at the Little Tonoloway Creek Park.
Town Manager Joe Gilbert said the grant was initially applied for last year, and awarded this month.
Engineering and design of the new boat ramp area will begin soon. A request for proposals from engineering firms is out already, Gilbert added.
“Engineers have it,” he said. “I’m expecting bids back in the next two, three weeks and then we’ll select a contractor.”
Right now, the town can only go through the engineering and design phase. A bridge over the C&O Canal that leads to the boat ramp area is still closed, awaiting repairs.
Gilbert said he still has yet to hear from the Federal Highway Administration about a contractor. The bridge is expected to be fixed in October.
By the time that is complete, so will the engineering and design of the ramp. Construction of the ramp can then begin.
Once the improvements are complete, people can dock their boats at Hancock and enjoy the town.
Gilbert said regardless of the water level, there would be places to dock on the tiered bank, as every block would have tie-downs attached.
The slope of the ramp would also be decreased to allow easier boat access to the river. There will be a retaining wall installed, a new access road, new swale, and new imbricated stones. The ramp itself will also be grooved.
There will be a new access road and the parking lot will also be reconfigured, Gilbert said.
The town also has a joint agreement with the National Park Service to do maintenance in the area, so this will allow the town to do landscaping around the boat ramp area.
At one time, a playground area was proposed for the small park, which also has picnic tables and barbecue grills.
Gilbert said the playground was not approved and would not be included in the improvements.
“The National Park Service said they don’t have playgrounds in national parks, so there will be no playground,” he said.
The economic side of the improvements are the expectation that more people can use the ramp, dock their boats and come into the downtown area.
“It’s going to be pretty awesome,” Gilbert said.