Repair of Beach Boat Launch Ramp Planned
By Carl Wagenfohr
CLEARWATER - The only boat launch ramp on Clearwater Beach will soon receive some needed attention courtesy of the City of Clearwater and a civic-minded citizen.
Built in the 1950's, wave and tide action over the years created a steep drop off at the end of the ramp. Recently, boaters unaware of the drop off have seen their trailers become stuck. The ramp was closed for a short time, and reopened after cautionary signs were installed.
The city's engineering department proposed to reconstruct the ramp at a cost of $700,000, but discovered that the submerged land where it was to be built was owned by beach resident Bill Blackwood via his company, Bayesplanade.com, LLC.
Blackwood came to own the ramp area via an effort he undertook to properly define the ownership of the submerged land adjacent to his waterfront property at 625 Bay Esplanade. Blackwood explained that to resolve the ownership issue of his property, he spent nearly two years and $45,000 to acquire nearly 34 acres of submerged land along the west side of Mandalay Channel. That acreage included the existing boat ramp.
But unlike some notorious buyers of unusable slivers of land who sought to profit by selling to nearby property owners at inflated prices, Blackwood decided to help his neighbors by dividing and selling adjacent submerged lands for only a share of his original cost.
Bob Pennock, a neighbor who purchased his adjacent submerged land from Blackwood, was appreciative of the effort. Speaking of the time and money Blackwood invested in resolving the neighborhood's submerged land ownership issues, Pennock said, "He did it all for us; you couldn't ask for a nicer neighbor."
Blackwood's generosity also extended to the citizens of the City of Clearwater. For the sum of only one dollar, he granted a perpetual easement extending 100 feet into Mandalay Channel to reconstruct the boat ramp and maintain the small Beach Recreation Center dock. Without that easement, Clearwater Beach would have seen the demise of its only public boat ramp.
The ramp reconstruction will likely begin in 2009. The existing ramp will be maintained and remain open until then.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition