Neal Landing boat ramp delay
BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. (WMBB) — After nearly four years away, boaters can once again use a popular Calhoun County boat launch on the Apalachicola River.
Although the Neal Landing boat launch has reopened, it is limited to one or possibly two boats at a time.
Hurricane Michael destroyed it in 2018 and authorities have only repaired half of it.
Calhoun County Commissioner Darryl O’Bryan said inflation is the main reason they couldn’t fully complete the ramp.
“You talk about almost four years ago, you know the cost of things has gone up,” O’Bryan said.
According to the Consumer Price Index, prices today are 1.14 times higher than they were in 2019.
Three years ago, this project was estimated at just over $396,000.
Now it’s going to cost another $24,000.
Many community members wondered why it had taken so long to get Blountstown’s only boat launch back into service.
“They didn’t understand that the river was high. They thought they could work there. Well, you can’t,” O’Bryan said. “The construction company had to reduce it to a level that was good enough to work on. And I know people were frustrated in the county, but we had no control over the weather.
O’Bryan said the Covid-19 pandemic also played a role in slowing the project.
The commissioners were able to complete half of the ramp thanks to a Florida Navigation Improvement Program grant estimated at $400,000.
Now they said they are asking for more grants to do the work.
Many people who frequently visit this place on the river have said that they are just happy that it is up and running again.
“I’m surprised there are three trailers here,” Connie Walters said. “You come on a Saturday and the line is all the way up the road.”
County commissioners said the end goal was for four boats to be able to offload onto the ramp simultaneously.
Commissioner O’Bryan said he had no estimate of when that would happen.
He said they needed the money first.