Two men who have been leading an attempt to secure federal funding for the redevelopment of the Rappahannock River shoreline in Tappahannock are continuing efforts to have the June Parker Marina included on a list of potential projects for review.
Last month, it was announced that the Town of Tappahannock and Essex County had been awarded $1.5 million in federal funding through the Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program.
The funding is slated to be used for planning in order to conduct a multimodal assessment and development of a master plan that will propose projects and cost estimates for future projects. Planning activities will also involve connecting select priority parcels and destinations.
The Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC) prepared the grant application.
The Town of Tappahannock in partnership with Essex County is proposing to conduct a multimodal assessment and develop a master plan that aims to achieve the following: (1) improve community connectivity and mobility through land and water corridors; (2) develop plans, designs and cost estimates for selected priority parcels, destinations and conceptual transportation projects; (3) improves the livability of the community; (4) offers recreational destinations and economic development opportunities; (5) offers environmental friendly transportation options that reduce over all emissions; (6) offers equitable travel options for the underserved, overburdened and/or dis advantages communities.
Twenty one sites have been selected for review, however the marina property is not one of those.
“I want to reemphasize that it is extremely important that the marina site be added as a “priority site” in the RAISE evaluation,” Wright Andrews wrote in an email to Essex and Tappahannock officials.
Andrews and William Croxton, who is chairman of the Essex County Economic Development Authority, have been spear heading an effort to create a new steamboat wharf at or near the footprint of the original structure as well as redevelopment of the marina site. The redevelopment of the marina property would include, among other things, the creation of a public beach and a public fishing pier.
In his email, Andrews included the following to support his stance:
(1) It is one of the few major current public water access sites in the County/Town and logically should be included in any comprehensive plan;
(2) The marina has not only boat launch, storage, docking and fueling facilities, but it also has ample parking and a nice beach area and space where a public fishing pier can be added (frankly, it is far more suitable for such a pier than the old wharf area);
(3) It clearly is a site of county wide importance for water access, not just a town issue;
(4) The county has considered buying and redeveloping the marina before and many residents believe the site should be acquired by the county and redeveloped;
(5) As noted in my comments at the BOS meeting, both the county and town are on record with federal officials that they strongly support acquisition and redevelopment of the Marina;
(6) The town, which has many redevelopment “irons in the fire” right now, has a stake in the marina, especially as it has been discussed as tying into some of the Tappahannock Main Street redevelopment/ economic revitalization efforts that said, the county appears to have more bandwidth current ly for redeveloping this site;
(7) Questions some may have regarding the suit ability of redeveloping the Marina due to issues regarding flooding and chemical contamination can be addressed and re solved during the RAISE evaluation;
(8) No harm would be done by including the marina for such evaluation; and
(9) Lewie Lawrence, head of the MPPDC staff who prepared the grant application, says there should be no problem having the Marina added as a priority site because federal authorities clearly are letting the County/ Town pick the locations of the priority sites.
“Among the many pressing transportation infrastructure needs in the Town and County, this project becomes a priority and the foundation for community connectivity and mobility to recreational and commercial/ business destinations within the Town and County and to the Town and County’s waterways for employment, more recreation (i.e.. trails, walkways, sidewalks, water launch sites, floating docks, public fishing pier, public boat launches) and other water based capital improvement projects,” the application says.
Further, the application says: “As the Town and County continuously work to improve their transportation assets, each locality has conceptual project ideas to further advance and reclaim some of the water based commerce. For instance, the Town has a desire for planning for a new public wharf to support a variety of public waterfront uses and intends to utilize the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) to enhance maritime tourism all of which needs coordinated facility implementation, designs, conceptual plans, and cost estimates to ensure people can safely move around Town and the County.”
The 21 sites included in the application are:
Town of Tappahannock
Riverfront Park Complex; Boy Scout Tract; Marsh property; County owned parcel; Captain Thomas Property; Jeanette Drive Properties; Prince Street ending; VDOT property; Lump kin property.
Essex County Occupacia Creek; Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge; Mount Landing Creek; County owned parcel (waterfront on Hoskins Creek); Poor House Parcel; Gordons Mill Road land; Piscataway Creek; VDOT parcel 1; VDOT parcel 2; Byrds Bridge Parcel; Hoskins Creek; Thomas Unit National Wildlife Refuge.
The project activities will be completed within 24 months beginning January 1, 2023 and end ing December 31, 2025, according to the grant application. The planning project is designed to put the Town of Tappahannock and Essex County in a pipeline to be considered for future RAISE funding for implementation of the projects de signed during FY2023, the application says.
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