Boaters tired of trying to find places to launch their boat in south Baldwin County may soon see a remedy, as the Baldwin County Commission recently announced plans to construct a large boat launch facility on the Intracostal Waterway.
During Tuesday’s Baldwin County Commission meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved signing a letter of intent to push forward the plan to develop the 44.5 acre facility, complete with 450 parking spaces, 12 boat ramps, two kayak launch sites, waterfront gazebos and other family-friendly site attractions.
The property for the new giant boat launch is on the north side of the Intracostal Waterway, slightly west of the toll bridge in Orange Beach.
“The Intracoastal Canal is an underutilized asset for waterfront property here in Baldwin County and we’re excited to have this opportunity to develop a seriously world-class boat launch facility, as well as a park facility where people can enjoy being at the waterfront,” Commissioner Tucker Dorsey said.
Commissioner Chris Elliott said the project was something the county had been working on for a long time and he was glad to see it start to come to fruition.
“This is just the first step, but it’s a very big deal,” Elliott said. “This will add 450 additional parking spots and a host of new boat ramps, something we’re in very short supply of in that part of the county.”
Total costs for the facility will add up to almost $10.5 million, but county commissioners said they’d be looking at GOMESA funds allotted to the county and state to provide the funding for the project. GOMESA (or Gulf of Mexico Energy Securities Act) funds are money given to Gulf states for oil and gas drilling done off of their shores.
“This is absolutely an opportunity for Baldwin County to get its share of that money and put it to work for our residents here in the county, so that we can have better and easier access to the water,” Elliott said.
The commissioners said they were excited to begin the construction process as soon as possible, adding that the project would take almost two years to fully complete once a contract with the property owner is signed.