Trash Talk: Cleaning up the Boat Basin

Published 5:32 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2016

By John Simpson


Walking through Bainbridge is like taking a step back in time. Old oak trees with Spanish moss draped through the trees like blankets over the limbs line the streets. Nowhere is this scene more picturesque, or scenic, than at the Boat Basin.

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One can walk along the river on the boardwalk and see the sun glimmer across the water and hear the wind whip through the trees. It is reminiscent of a simpler time, a time where you expect to see Tom Sawyer and Jim floating down the river. Exotic birds strut nearby adding curiosity to the setting. It is peaceful, and then sound of plastic crunching beneath shoes is heard.

What should be one of the most treasured natural resources in Bainbridge has turned into a neglected corner of the town. Trashcans are over-flowing. Trash litters the emu habitat and whips around with the wind like the cotton that decorates the sides of the roads. From empty potato chip bags to beer cans to an empty Little Caesars box and of course soda bottles, you name it.

City Manager Chris Hobby did not know about the trash problem, but acknowledged the state of disrepair that the area is in.

“We’ve had continuous problems there (the boardwalk) because it’s getting so old and it’s been through so many floods,” said Hobby. “So we did close it at one point and we replaced a lot of boards but really at this point it probably just needs to be closed.”

With the boardwalk being in such disrepair and there being such a little problem, it seems that the area has been forgotten about. That is not the case however; the area’s condition is victim to its future.

Plans for a bridge connecting the Boat Basin to the boardwalk area over the canal have been in place for a while. The materials are ready and the plans have been approved; yet the city is just waiting on the go ahead from the Coast Guard to begin working.

Once the bridge goes in to place, the whole area will then be improved.

So, while the area sits in decay now, the city is looking forward to the future instead of the present.

“We’re wanting to redevelop that whole area into a day recreation area.” Hobby says.

The vision of the city is to have that area cleaned up and redone to have picnic tables and a place for families to access the river. There is no indication as of right now regarding when the Coast Guard will approve the bridge construction so there is then no timeline regarding the clean up and repurposing effort of the area.

In the meantime, the emus in the area need to be moved before the area can start to even be reconstructed.

However for the present, the maintenance falls under the control of Roy Oliver and then the Parks Department.

“We’ve got people that are supposed to be down there on the weekends policing up trash,” says Hobby, “so it sounds like we just dropped the ball, and that is something I need to address.”

The area has been forgotten and neglected, but the future seems bright. The emus will no longer walk through trash and kids will no longer have to jump over missing panels like a game of hopscotch.

Hobby says the area will be cleaned up in the meantime, yet the area needs more than a bandaid, it needs a permanent fix.