Once dollars were taken out of the equation, the location of a planned mega-boat ramp at Wildwood Park was easily changed.
"We are still in the preliminary stages of this project," Columbia County Community Services Director Frank Neal said. "We are continually refining the estimates."
The new location of the ramp - approved by the county commission last week - will open into Big Branch and open water. The initial location - preferred by county officials because of favorable preliminary cost estimates - was on the opposite side of the park, requiring boaters to back-track through a narrow passage at Keg Creek.
"(The move) just seems to make better sense to us," Keg Creek resident Roy Giles said. "It's open water. It is a direct shot to the dam."
Officials won't have a firm cost estimate for the work until planners can get on-site and see whether there are any problems, such as an excess of rock, there.
"There are unknowns out there on either side," Commissioner Tom Mercer said. "They won't know until they get out there."
If the site passes a series of environmental tests, work could start later this year.
Commissioners hope the new ramps will be built by the end of the year and other work at the park - including parking lots for the ramps - will be completed by April 2003.
Mercer credited Neal and Construction and Maintenance Director Kevin Neal with setting up the ramp move.
"This is another case where employees of the county made a good decision," he said.
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