The goals for a revamped Downtown Beaufort Marina are clear: turn it into a facility that is more accessible and vibrant, add day dock space, a water sports center, dry storage for small craft and better public facilities.
The Redevelopment Commission recommended Thursday night that Beaufort City Council approve an updated plan conceived this summer that would do all of those things. The plan was created with input from boat and sports organizations, downtown merchants, engineers and others.
Commission member Alan Dechovitz, who headed up the marina planning project, said a first council vote could come by the end of September. Two votes will be needed to approve the plan.
The plan has three components:
A 250-foot day dock along the seawall at the west end of the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Boats up to 26 feet could dock free for three hours. The boats would be monitored by either the city's parking management contractor, Lanier Parking Solutions, or the proposed water sports center operator. The current day dock, on the west side of the marina, will be used by rowing craft and as a dinghy dock for the mooring field. Between 40 and 80 feet of low-floating dock could be added. A water sports center for dry dock storage, rowing craft rental, public facilities, a patio and water-related activities will be added to the marina parking lot. It would be 3,000-square-feet if only the water sports center is included. It would grow to 7,000-square-feet if marina offices, a convenience store, bathrooms and showers, a laundromat and other businesses are included. The building's appearance would conform to the "Beaufort style," as determined by the Historic Design Review Board and the city's proposed form-based code. The water sports center operator, city and downtown organizations would create an aggressive marketing campaign to promote the new facilities.
"We don't just want to put it there and expect people will find it," Dechovitz said.
A preliminary plan was presented to city council last week, and Dechovitz said the response was favorable.
Up to $250,000 in state and federal money could be available for the project. Dechovitz said it is important that local legislators push for the release of the state funds so federal funds can then be obtained.
The day dock could cost about $250,000. The water sports center would, in theory, be paid for and operated by a private company.
The Beaufort Rowing Club has offered to donate the additional low-floating dock, Dechovitz said. The rowing club has also offered to pay $10,000 toward the annual costs of the water sports center, he said.
- River access, wealthy tourists considered in downtown Beaufort day-dock discussion, July 5, 2012
- Downtown merchants look to Beaufort waterfront for increased business, May 5, 2012
- Beaufort council considers mooring field near Downtown Marina, June 20, 2012