There’s great news for boaters in Baldwin County. A brand new boat launch is in the works on the south end of the county and this isn’t just any boat launch. This one will handle up to 450 vehicles with trailers. It will be built on the Intracoastal Waterway with easy access to both inshore and offshore waters.
County officials unveiled plans for its new boat launch and waterfront park and it’s massive. With 14 boat ramps, additional kayak ramps, parking for hundreds of vehicles and waterfront gazebos, it’s one of the largest of its kind on the gulf coast. The 44.5-acre site is on the north side of the Intracoastal Waterway, just west of the Orange Beach toll bridge. “There’s a critical shortage of boat ramp and parking space near the water here in Baldwin County and we are thrilled that this will help to alleviate that and give more people better access to the water,” explained Baldwin County Commissioner, Chris Elliott. No sooner had word got out than curious locals began stopping by the site to check it out. Aden and Linda Smalley live just a few miles away and enjoy time together on their pontoon boat. This announcement was great news to them. “We came over to see exactly what you were talking about because we saw your Facebook post on it and I said, well we know where it’s at,” Aden said. “And we’re just really excited. I mean, we have asked for this for I know six years because we came down here six years ago, but we’re excited,” Linda added. One of the most exciting things about this project is it will be paid for with GOMESA (Gulf of Mexico Energy Securities Act) funds. It’s lease money paid to Gulf states for offshore oil and gas drilling. The goal of the park is to relieve congestion at the few boat launch facilities that exist today, some of which are in residential areas. The park will also serve more than just boaters, offering piers and waterfront picnic areas. “The Intracoastal canal is an underutilized asset for waterfront property here in Baldwin County and we’re excited to have this opportunity to develop a seriously world-class boat launch facility as well as a park facility where people can enjoy being at the waterfront,” Baldwin County Commissioner, Tucker Dorsey said. The total cost for the facility is estimated at around 10.5 million dollars. The county is in talks right now with the governor’s office to have the GOMESA funds released to the county. Once a contract is signed, it will take about two years to complete.
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