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Local News

Major improvements underway at Lincoln Park Boat Ramp in Valparaiso

Valparaiso, Florida – The city of Valparaiso is making significant strides in enhancing the Lincoln Park Boat Ramp, a project aimed at revitalizing the deteriorating waterfront facilities that local boaters and anglers have long depended on. The Valparaiso City Commission has taken a decisive step forward by approving a substantial investment of nearly $1 million towards this much-needed upgrade.

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In a move that underscores the city’s commitment to its recreational infrastructure, commissioners, during their Nov. 13 meeting, awarded a contract worth $996,585 to Loftis Marine LLC, based in Pensacola. This critical investment is directed at replacing the boat ramp and docks, which have seen better days and now require extensive repairs to remain serviceable and safe for public use.

The undertaking is not just a local effort but is supported by the broader community and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In a significant boost to the project, the commission awarded the city a $414,000 grant in January 2022, recognizing the importance of maintaining accessible and functional boating facilities for Florida’s residents and visitors alike.

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To cover the nearly $583,000 shortfall, Valparaiso is exploring various funding avenues, including American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, county boating improvement grants, the city’s parks reserve fund, and potentially tapping into its half-cent sales tax revenue. This diversified approach to funding ensures that the project not only gets off the ground but is completed to the highest standards, benefiting the community for years to come.

A key condition of the grant is the dedication of the boat ramp as a “boat access facility” for public use for no less than 20 years, a testament to the city’s commitment to ensuring long-term recreational access to its waterways.

Among the planned improvements is a significant upgrade from a single lane to a 27ft double lane ramp, which will allow two boats to launch simultaneously, significantly reducing wait times and enhancing user experience. Additionally, new boat parking facilities are part of the project, further catering to the needs of the boating community.

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The city is on a tight schedule to complete these enhancements, with a deadline of June 30, 2024, to meet grant requirements. This ambitious timeline reflects Valparaiso’s dedication to improving its recreational infrastructure and its resolve to provide high-quality, accessible boating facilities for its residents and the many visitors drawn to its beautiful waterways.

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