The city of Beaufort has talked the S.C. Department of Natural Resources into increasing a $27,000 grant for a new downtown day dock to $111,279.
With the federal government matching that money at a 3-to-1 ratio, the city could have more than $445,000 for the project, significantly decreasing the city's expense. Public works director Isiah Smalls notified City Council of the news last week and estimates the total cost for engineering and construction would be $539,000.
The day dock is part of a master plan for the Beaufort Downtown Marina, which includes a mooring field, and was added to the city's Civic Master Plan last year. It calls for a 250-foot day dock along the west end of the seawall in Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
City manager Scott Dadson cautioned that the estimates are preliminary, as the city staff is still working with DNR on the plans and the cost of some of the project's options.
DNR originally committed $27,000 from its 2012 fiscal year water-recreational funds. DNR informed city staff last summer that more money -- from projects delayed, canceled or under budget -- could be available.
"What is good about that, is for every dollar of DNR funds, there are $3 in federal funds," Smalls said. "So instead of $27,000 to match, there is $111,000 to match."
Dadson received notification of the grant increase and a contract from DNR in September.
Several local marine contractors are interested in the project, he said, and city staff intends to choose and involve one early in the planning.
A conceptual drawing shows the entrance to the day dock on the seawall of Waterfront Park, near the existing pavilion, with two ramps leading to the floating dock. No alterations would be needed for the seawall or promenade in the park, Smalls said.
If properly maintained, the dock should last 25 to 30 years, he said.
Smalls said the drawings and visual plans are conceptual only, and drawn up so the city can apply for and win grant money.
"We have not decided what kind dock it will be, what it will look like, but in order to secure the funds, to be eligible, we had to come up with something conceptual," he said.
The placement of the dock against the seawall created controversy when discussed before council approved the marina plan in 2012. Some residents didn't want it there because they were concerned it will end up taking up most or all of the wall.
City of Beaufort day dock presentation
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- Beaufort Council approves day dock, water sports building proposal, Oct. 23, 2012
- City council gives initial nod to marina development plan, Oct. 9, 2012
- River access, wealthy tourists considered in downtown Beaufort day-dock discussion, July 5, 2012