GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Although it's one of the busiest times of year for boaters, the boat ramp at George Martin City Park in Gautier is closed.
Ward 3 councilman Casey Vaughan says he understands closing the ramp is an unpopular move, but stresses that is necessary.
"City Park is one of our most popular parks and is often utilized by eco-tourists," Vaughan said.
The ramp had to be closed so the city can make vital improvements that include replacing the deteriorating dock decking and bulkheads, and adding a new floating launch for kayaks and canoes.
"The launch and docks there were deteriorating and we didn't have the general funds to make the repairs, so we're very fortunate to receive a grant to repair them and add a new kayak launch; an amenity that's been desired for many years by Gautier residents," said Vaughan.
The work is funded by a US Fish and Wildlife service sport fish and recreation program grant, and tidelands funds.
"Unfortunately, the timing is not the best," Vaughan said. "However, we had to work with the grant time line to get the project done as soon as possible."
While the work is underway, boaters will have to use other public launches including Webb Landing on Octavia Street in St. Andrews, River Park on Clark Street in Pascagoula, and Lighthouse Park on Frederic Street in Pascagoula.
Boaters can also use one of the private launches, but will have to pay a fee.
Work on the ramps is expected to take about four months.