Eight years of work puts ramp on river

By Chuck MartinContributing Writer

Coal Grove, Ohio – Almost eight years in the making, boaters
finally have a new launch facility on the Greenup Pool at the
village of Coal Grove in Lawrence County.

The one-lane ramp, with 27 car and trailer parking spaces and 10
additional car-only spaces, is open for use, reports village Mayor
Larry McDaniel.

An official opening ceremony was planned for this spring,
McDaniel said, but has been delayed because of repeated high water
periods, which has forced the village to clean up mud and
debris.

Officially known as the Ice Creek Boating Access for the creek
that enters the Ohio River near the ramp, it was funded by a
$321,000 Boating Access Facility Grant from the DNR Division of
Watercraft, according to division spokesman John Wisse.

‘It was fully funded,’ McDaniel said. ‘The Ohio Division of
Wildlife was also involved.’

Jim Marshall, the manager of Division of Wildlife District 4,
noted that the DNR in recent years has been making a deliberate
effort to improve access to the Ohio River through projects such as
this.

McDaniel explained that the village was originally approached
about an access ramp by the DNR about 1999. The ramp was first
designed as a two-lane ramp, but bids came in far over the cost
estimates and the project had to be scaled back to the one-lane
design, he said.

Construction began last fall, but was delayed by high water
conditions in the river. Still, it was ready for use this spring
and McDaniel said he has already seen some boaters and anglers at
the site.

They were probably local residents who knew about the facility,
but it will be easy for people from out of town to find it.
McDaniel said signs are being erected for travelers coming from
both directions of U.S. Route 52 at the Coal Grove exit and the
location of the ramp in the town of about 2,200 people will be
clearly marked.

McDaniel said the new ramp will be a convenience for boaters and
anglers seeking access to the Ohio as the nearest other ramp is
across the river at Ashland, Ky. Another is located a few miles
downstream at Ironton, Ohio. The village will probably also see
some benefit from boaters spending money on gas, food and supplies
while visiting, McDaniel said.

The village also hopes to improve the facility in the future
with the addition of lighting and by extending the paving of an
access road.

‘We’re seeking another grant for the lighting and blacktopping,’
McDaniel said, explaining that those features had to be scaled back
to stay within the original budget.

Coal Grove can be reached from Ironton U.S. 52, which runs
parallel to the Ohio River in Lawrence County. It’s located near
the U.S. 60 bridge that crosses the river to Ashland.

For more information on boating on the Ohio River and for
complete information of the different fishing regulations in force
on the river along the Ohio border with West Virginia and Kentucky,
visit the DNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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