Location for Crisfield’s kayak launch site settled

CRISFIELD — Pending funding -public kayak launch will be installed at the pier by Wellington Beach.

The park committee after years of discussion settled on this location after alternatives were either too expensive, too shallow, in rough water or where boat traffic is too heavy.

In 2015 the city received $27,500 from the state for the project with hopes of placing it at the end of William Street. The goal was to have it in the downtown are near restaurants and retail businesses.

After objections were raised by the adjacent property owner, other locations were considered including one near the wind turbine at the west end of the municipal park.

“But what we found wasn’t enough water,” said City Manager Rick Pollitt, and to extend the launch at that location to deeper water was going to cost over $90,000.

The City Dock and Somers Cove Marina were considered but not the safest alternatives, the pier in the municipal park extends into shallow water “and distance came into play,” said Code Enforcement Officer Dean Bozman as kayakers don’t want to carry their boats a long way.

The estimate for the installation of the launch on the left side of the pier at the end of Lorie C. Quinn Drive is $36,173. Mr. Pollitt said because the location has changed the city will have to reapply for the grant, but he’s confident it will be approved.

The park committee voted to ask the City Council if it will authorize half of the nearly $8,700 shortfall and it will fund the other half. Former Mayor Kim Lawson, who chairs the committee, suggested the city could pay its part from the $15,000 it received from The Crab Place to settle a lawsuit over the business allegedly constructing a shed on park property.

The park committee still has $40,000 or more on hand remaining from the $150,000 paid for the purchase of the new public library site.

The single launch will be ADA accessible and the American Legion has beefed up security at the beach with the installation of cameras.

A discussion about the financial commitment from the city will beat the Nov. 13 City Council meeting. Mayor Barry Dize expressed how he favored the site selected as there is parking, it’s a short distance to open water, and there are public bathrooms nearby during the season. He would like the launch ramp in place by next spring.

In addition to Mr. Lawson park committee members at the Oct. 22 meeting included Council Vice President LaVerne Johnson, Noah Bradshaw and Tillie Doyle. Absent was Pat Carson.

The next meeting will be 5 p.m. Jan. 14 and it is being requested that Mayor Barrie Dize nominate one to two new committee members as the board can have up to eight.