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Over a year has passed since the 80-year-old Gratz Bridge was blasted, but members of the community now have a new landmark to look forward to.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife will hold a ground-breaking ceremony for a new boat dock Oct. 22.
Mark Marracini, a representative with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, said details are still coming together, but construction on the boat dock is expected to begin this winter.
“The design is pretty much done and it will have a parking lot with it,” Marracini said. “The parking lot will hold 15 vehicles with trailers and the ramp itself will be 14 feet wide.”
The estimated cost of the project is about $100,000, but Marricini said the department will use their own staff for construction of the dock.
Owen County Judge-executive Carolyn Keith said Henry County officials were equally interested in the boat dock, but said State Rep. Royce Adams, D-Dry Ridge, was able to secure a location for the boat dock on the Owen County side.
Keith said there will be an extensive ramp and dock area and workers are in the process of taking down three different structures and leveling off land for construction.
“If you’re standing where the old Hwy. 22 used to run, the dock will be located almost exactly where the old (Gratz) bridge was,” Keith said. “We’re applying for a grant to have a trail leading from the new boat ramp to the old riverboat landing.”
Gratz City Council member Linda New, who also owns and operates New’s Café, Antiques and Gold Star Bed and Breakfast with her husband Earl, said she’s hoping the dock will bring new business to Gratz.
“We’re hoping to do well, at least be able to stay in business,” New said. “The bridge going really hurt us. But it’s supposed to be a nice ramp and we think it will bring a lot of traffic. We already have some people saying they’ll stay in our bed and breakfast once the ramp opens up.”
New said she’s excited at the possibilities the dock could bring to Gratz.
“We’ve worked hard to get it,” New said. “We’re really trying to get the (Gratz) council worked up to bring some more business down.”
The public is invited to the groundbreaking of the boat dock, which will be held Oct. 22 at 1:30 p.m.