A busy time at the Boat Basin

Published 8:09 pm Friday, July 9, 2010

This summer is a busy time down at the Earle May Boat Basin, considered the center of public recreation in Bainbridge.

On Friday morning, several boats were launching into the Flint River not far from where three new multi-lane mega-ramps are being built on the southeastern side of the Boat Basin.

While the boaters leisured, some 15 to 20 employees of Bainbridge’s Public Works, led by Division Director Tommy King, worked on several new recreation-related projects.

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The current task most of the workers are focusing on is paving a new road to curve around the site where the new mega-ramps and a large parking lot will be constructed. The ramps themselves will be put in during the rest of the summer and early fall.

The new road will re-connect Boat Basin Circle, accessible from Shotwell Street, to Cox Avenue, where the city’s Bill Reynolds Sports Park and tennis center are located, among other facilities. The new road will replace part of the loop road that will be torn up to make way for the ramps.

Just off the side of the existing road, where two older ball fields used to be, a handful of workers are steadily putting up the cinder block framework of what will be a new restroom facility in the Boat Basin, a much-desired amenity for boaters and other visitors.

Driving onto Cox Avenue, one can see a sight that recalls the famous line from the baseball film, Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”

Across the street from the first two phases of the sports park, tall light poles rise up from a large clearing where eight new baseball and softball fields are being built. Sprinklers water the fields’ new, green sprigs of grass. The light poles will be connected to power soon, and work on two multi-purpose fields and a set of basketball courts will begin later this year.

The new boat ramps are expected to be ready by October, when two major bass fishing tournaments will be held out of the Boat Basin. The new sports fields will be ready by next spring to accommodate the bustling activity of Bainbridge Leisure Services’ youth and adult leagues. City officials also hope to draw an increasing number of area fishing, baseball and softball tournaments, including the accompanying tourism dollars.