Gov. McDonnell announces Virginia grants to Pearisburg sites for boating access
Gov. Bob McDonnell recently announced 15 grants totaling $440,900, including two grants to Pearisburg sites, awarded by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to improve boating access to the public waters of Virginia. Identified as a need in Virginia’s Outdoors Plan, these new and improved boating access sites will help boaters access the bountiful public waters of the Commonwealth.
“These projects assist localities with projects that provide enhanced access to recreational opportunities of state waters,” said McDonnell. “These new recreational opportunities will benefit Virginia business and tourism.”
The town of Pearisburg has been slated to receive two grants in the large powerboat category to develop a concrete ramp and 30-space parking at two locales. A $78,750 grant has been allotted to the Bluff City Site’s project, and a $83,400 grant will go toward the Whitt River-bend Site’s project.
“The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is to be commended for initiating this partnership with localities to increase access,” said Doug Domenech, Virginia’s secretary of natural resources. “The boating public – both motorized and non-motorized – will be well served by these grants.”
“This is not a new program for the department but one that needed reinvigorating,” said Bob Duncan, director for the department. “The department was having trouble finding suitable locations for new boating access points, but adding the eyes and ears of over 100 local governments generated a number of excellent locations where access can be constructed or improved. We look forward to continuing and expanding this program.”
Under the program, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries cost-shares with the local government to provide the new sites and improve existing ones. After entering into a cooperative agreement with the department, the local government provides the designs, constructs the projects and agrees to keep them maintained and open to the public for a period of 20 or more years. Funds for these grants come from the department’s Boat Fund and the federal Sport Fish Restoration Fund. The Boat Fund is generated from fees for titling and registering boats, as well as the transfer of watercraft sales and use fees. The federal Sport Fish Restoration Fund is based primarily on the number of fishing licenses sold.
According to a recently released economic impact study, the Virginia recreational boating industry employs more than 9,000 people statewide and contributes $2 billion to the Virginia economy annually. There are 250,000 registered motorboats statewide and 23,000 in the localities receiving these grants. The grants totaling $440,900 will generate construction projects estimated to be worth $839,000.
– Submitted by the Office of Gov. Bob McDonnell
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