GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis city officials and members of the public gathered for a third meeting 5 p.m. Tuesday evening to discuss a proposed waterfront project that would affect the Public Use Area below First Avenue.
Gallipolis City Commission members and staff gathered with representatives from E.L. Robinson Engineering to explain the potential renovation of the Public Use Area and display a rendering of what the area may look like upon completion.
“On Phase One, we were awarded a $98,500 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Deadline for completion was June 30, 2016. The previous plan was to have this completed by October, but what we ran into when we did the advertisements for bid in June (2015) was no one was interested in the project for the amount of money,” Swisher said in an earlier meeting in 2015. “I think the economy (from a few years ago) has changed slightly. In 2008 and 2009, people were hungrier. They were willing to go out and take on a project at a lower cost. So, what we found is that we were going to have to combine two of the grants.”
City officials said the Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded a grant number around $1 million for a “cooperative boating facility.” The waterfront project’s original deadline to use the funds was Dec. 1, 2016.
ODNR allowed the grants to be combined and contractor discussions are still ongoing in regard to who will take on the project.
Contractor bids are anticipated to open in March and construction may begin May 10. Construction should end in late November. The grant will close out Jan. 3, 2017.
An amphitheater, designed as an oval and placed at one end of the project, has since been redesigned and made to face parallel to the river. This allows for the potential expansion of seating in the future. Seating will be constructed into the riverbank and the stage will be closer to the water. City officials anticipate a concrete pad to be poured that will allow for temporary stage structures for public shows and events. Concrete seating will be poured in a series of steps roughly with a depth of three feet and a height of two feet.
Slopes of the Public Use Area will be rearranged to allow for safer maintenance practices.
Rich Blankenship, former mayor of Ironton and associate of E.L. Robinson Engineering, said he felt the waterfront project held great promise for the Gallipolis area. He told audience members he had experienced a similar project during his time in office and felt that things should potentially go smooth in Gallipolis with proper planning.
Audience members questioned area parking, boat docks, fishing tournaments and traffic challenges. City officials said attempts will be made to plan accordingly for such events to minimize difficulties in the community.
For more information, contact the Gallipolis Municipal Building at (740) 446-9400.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.