Two boats remain in a future mooring field in the Beaufort River, and Beaufort city staff and officials are working on plans to build the new anchor spot for boaters willing to pay a fee.
American Underwater Contractors of Tequesta, Fla., should begin construction soon, according to a city staff memo. Work would take 90 to 120 days and must be done by June 30, according to rules of a federal grant for the field.
The city has permission from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a mooring field with up to 46 buoys.
The current contract is for only 16 of those moorings, but Beaufort Downtown Marina operator Rick Griffin is asking City Council to consider increasing that. City Council is expected to discuss the mooring field during its work session at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 1911 Boundary St.
Beaufort has a $100,000 federal grant for the field, and Griffin, who has a contract with the city to manage the marina, is paying an additional $33,000. The city would kick in $29,600, according to grant documents.
Griffin wants an additional 14 moorings set up, at a total cost of $39,970, which could be used for either transient or long-term boats. The terms of the federal grant make the original 16 moorings available only to transient boats for a maximum of 10 days.
Griffin Enterprises currently pays 15 percent of gross revenue to city as part of its contract. In his proposal, Griffin said he would pay the city 85 percent of revenue from the 14 additional moorings, until that investment is repaid.
Griffin is also requesting City Council sink the final 16 mooring anchors, without buoys, for a total of $20,700. Getting all the moorings sunk at the same time will avoid about $12,000 in equipment mobilization costs each time a contractor comes out for construction, Griffin wrote in his proposal to council.
He is also asking the city to install two or three marker buoys, at $1,288 each.
Although plans are moving ahead, the two boats left in the mooring field don't appear to be going anywhere. One of the owners has been in contact with city officials and the city attorney. The other has been sent a letter by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, according to the staff memo.
Although letters were put on boats warning about fines of more then $1,000 per day, city manager Scott Dadson said city staff intends to try to work with the owners instead of levying fines.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.