Boaters who use the boat ramp at the Smithfield Town Commons to access the Neuse River will be glad to know a new ramp is in the works.
Officials with NC Wildlife recently met with Smithfield town leaders to discuss plans for a new and improved boat ramp. Christian Waters and Mark Hamlin with NC Wildlife said the state would pay for the design and construction of the new boat ramp, which would include a floating dock and additional parking. In return, the town must allow the state to place signs and a kiosk identifying the site as a Public Fishing Area. The Town would be responsible for minor repairs.
NC Wildlife is requesting a 20 year commitment with the Town of Smithfield on the project. The town would help with the planning and ensure free access to the public, routine maintenance and minor repairs, Hamlin said.
Officials are considering a 14 foot wide ramp with a 40 to 60 foot long loading dock. The facility would include ADA compliant parking spaces.
The state is expected to present a draft agreement to the town of Smithfield this month. A formal agreement by the Town Council could be made as early as October. Barring any delays, Hamlin hopes construction on the new ramp could begin no later than June 2016.