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Officials open new boat ramp in Gratz

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By Molly Haines

When fishermen and boaters look for a place to park and put their crafts in the Kentucky River, they will have a new place to launch in Gratz.
State and Owen County officials turned out Nov. 6 for the formal opening of the Gratz Boat Ramp at the end of Main Street in Gratz. The new facility was built where the old Gratz bridge once spanned the Kentucky River from Owen County to Henry County.
The facility features several acres of parking along with the ramp. There are no fees for using the facility.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Deputy Commissioner Benjy Kinman said the money to buy some of the property and to build the facility came from a tax on fuel for boats.
“Everything is free to use,” Kinman said. “The way I look at it, they have already paid for it.”
The city of Gratz donated two of the five parcels used to build the facility.
“This is a good day for the city of Gratz and the people of Owen County,” Kinman said.  “This new boat launch ramp will provide some much needed recreational opportunities.”
The ramp is 14 feet wide and includes a parking lot that will accommodate up to 16 trucks with trailers.
After five years and over $100,000, boat enthusiasts can launch their crafts from a new ramp in Gratz.
Former State Rep. Royce Adams, who retired from the Kentucky General Assembly at the end of 2012, was one of the driving forces behind the facility and came out to see the finished product.
“This is a testament that persistence pays off,” Adams said. “It took a lot of effort and hard work to get to this day.”
Adams recognized the dedication of current Owen County Judge-executive Carolyn Keith and former judge-executive Billy O’Banion.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without their hard work and the work of people like (Gratz business owner) Linda New and (Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Fifth District Commissioner) Jimmy Bevins,” Adams said.
Kinman said as the locks on the Kentucky River are opened, more boaters can enjoy the water.
“By next year, we hope to have all four locks (effecting Owen County) open,” Kinman said.