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Old Hickory boat ramps closing in Wilson County
May 20, 2005 12:00 am
May 19, 2005
Three Old Hickory boat ramps have closed despite public outcry, pending an agreement between Wilson County and Army Corps of Engineers on liability limits to the county for maintaining the boat ramps.
"The Wilson County Commission decided that they were not in a position to take over at present," said Dave Treadway, public affairs specialist with the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Army Corp of Engineers announced last year they would begin closing designated public areas under a consolidation program. Ramps closed Tuesday were Riverview, Tyree and Dickerson Chapel in Wilson County.
"On July 28, (Wilson County commissioners) asked us to leave the ramps open for three more months," Treadway said. "They had remained open because Wilson County government had expressed interest in keeping them open.
"We made the decision to close them (Tuesday) to prevent their misuse because there is no supervision there now."
Wilson County Mayor Robert Dedman admitted commissioners had expressed to him concerns about liability at the boat ramps.
"We agreed, the County Court did, to pick up the trash at these three places, have the road commission come, or the Wilson County Sheriff's Department, that would be no problem," Dedman said. "But the problem with the commissioners was the liability issues with the ramps. We were going to address it again in June, but I guess the Corps couldn't wait that long."
Dedman said Wilson County Attorney Mike Jennings had been communicating with the Corps of Engineers regarding the ramp liability issues. Jennings said county commissioners had not yet made the decision whether or not to take on the responsibility of maintaining the ramps and questioned the Corps representative's characterization.
"That is inaccurate," Jennings said Wednesday. "The representative of the Corps was called on Monday and advised" the Wilson County Commission was still considering the most recently received amendments to the agreement.
"We have swapped the proposal back and forth," the county attorney said. "The most recent copy to me did not get to me in time for me to get it on the May agenda. I assume the commissioners still want me to do this, they have not made that decision yet."
Jennings explained because of the paperwork process delays have occurred in getting the proposals amended and approved. But if Wilson County is still interested in maintaining and running the ramps, Jennings said he will try to get the amended proposal on the finance committee's June 9 meeting. The next Wilson County Commission meeting is scheduled for June 20.
Some regular patrons of the Riverview boat ramp, Karen Irwin and her family even volunteer their time, labor and resources to the upkeep of the ramp area.
"The county was supposed to mow it, but this community out here has been maintaining it, not the county," Irwin said. "In fact, my husband just mowed out here the other day."
Irwin noted a recent fishing tournament, which benefited the Easter Seals Camp, was launched from Riverview ramp.
Treadway said the ramps are not necessarily closed permanently.
"If the Wilson County officials agree to take over the operations and maintenance, then the county may re-open the ramp," he said.
Staff Writer Cori Galeano can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 15 or by e-mail at email@example.com.