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Dock proposal put on hold
Proposed changes to Mary Ross Waterfront Park and dock have been shelved temporarily after Brunswick officials abandoned a plan to apply for a grant to fund hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations.

The dock has received increased attention from city commissioners following the sinking in December of the shrimp boat Bossy Betty. Crews are now working to remove the boat, piece by piece.

City Manager Bill Weeks says the city has been looking closely at grants to find one suitable for the dock and park, but will delay applying to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Boating Infrastructure Grant Program.

"We're taking a few steps back and making sure we are getting into the right grant program (for Mary Ross Waterfront Park)," he said. "We don't know if it will meet what we want to do with the park and the docks."

The grant would have funded floating docks, new facilities for boaters and renovations to the park to help attract programs and festivals that would be catalysts for activities downtown.

The city commission was to vote on applying for the grant at its regular meeting last week, but Commissioner Julie Martin, who organized the grant for the city, withdrew her request.

Applying for the grant would have cost the city $8,700 in fees, but could have resulted in $515,000 to pay for renovations.

The city would have been required to match $185,000 through Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue.

Weeks says the city wants to bring more activity the area, but it is important to find the right fit for the dock with the park.

"You know, if we want to bring programs like sailing clubs, kayakers or environmental tours, we have to look for the right grant, and keep that in mind," he said. "We're still trying to figure out what's best for that."

Martin has visited other coastal towns and researched grants that would be helpful for Mary Ross Waterfront Park, Weeks said.

"We'll come back soon with another grant opportunity for this," Weeks said. "Until then, we've been working on some changes and tweaks to the regulations for the boats and docks."

No other boats have sunk at the dock since the Bossy Betty went down, and all boats there have paid dockage fees, Weeks said.

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