“I am pumped,” Mayor Rusty Jessup said, as he looked around the former D&S Marina Wednesday. “This is a great day for Riverside. Santa Claus came two days early for our town.”
The town of Riverside is now the owners of the former D&S Marina, which is located across for the Town Hall.
“The city council worked tirelessly for the last four months putting this together,” Jessup said. “We are now the official owners of this property, as of about 10:30 this morning.”
Riverside town officials have expressed a desire to provide public access to Logan Martin Lake for its citizens. That public access is now available.
Residents and town officials watched as a Riverside firefighter backed up the large Riverside Fire & Rescue boat down the steep boat launch toward the lake water.
“We want everyone to know the boat launch is officially open,” Jessup said Wednesday. “We want our fishermen back.”
The town currently has an honor system for the $3 boat launch fee for those who use the town’s boat launch.
“That’s until we get further along,” Jessup said.
Wednesday afternoon’s gathering wasn’t an official ceremonial gathering for the opening of the town’s marina.
“Today, we’re just trying to bubble out some of the excitement,” Jessup said.
The mayor said the final price tag for the property was $312,000, including closing cost.
He said the marina property will become part of an 8-10-acre city park.
“It’s going to be a work in progress,” Jessup said. “We hope the community will get behind this.”
Jessup hopes the new purchase will help attract tourism to the town of Riverside as part of the Alabama Scenic River Trial.
“The Alabama Scenic River Trial group is very excited about this,” Jessup said. “We’re going to have camping... Camping will be modest. We’ll have sort of a stop and go camping area.”
He said the Riverside Town Park is in a perfect location between two major international airports in Atlanta and Birmingham with good interstate access. He said the park will have overnight camping, boat launches, a store and fuel along the water, plus plenty of parking.
Jessup said a town hall meeting is set for Tuesday, Jan. 12, at the town hall for public comment concerning the marina property bought by t Riverside Wednesday morning.
He said the city grant writer and engineer will attend the town hall meeting.
“This property belongs to Riverside residents,” Jessup said. “We want to get an idea from the community as to what they want this property to look like and how it is to function.”
He said the city’s grant writer and engineer will use the information from the Jan. 12 public hearing to develop a master plan, in conjunction with other city property across the street.
“Forming a master plan is the first step in applying for our next grant,” Jessup said.
He said the town will apply for a $50,000 grant to help pay for renovations to the marina property.
“It’s the first of many grants we’ll apply for,” Jessup said. “I want to tell you, this is the greatest thing to happen to Riverside since they backed up the water.”