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New pier for town possible

By next spring, the town of Port Royal may have Caroline County’s first public access point to the Rappahannock River.

Town officials are working with Friends of the Rappahannock to build a pier on the north end of King Street in town.

The town is looking at building a 176-foot pier and a soft launch for canoes and kayaks.

“We are really, really excited about the project because we can grant access to the river,” said Richard Moncure, the Tidal Rappahannock River Steward for FOR.

Mayor Nancy Long said that the town has received an estimated $64,000 in grants:

  • $28,000 from the Gateway Grant
  • $5,000 from the Chesapeake Conservancy
  • $5,000 from the Community Foundation
  • $10,000 from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
  • $10,000 from Friends of the Rappahannock
  • $3,000 from Freedom Float
  • $3,000 from the Baughman Family Foundation

The total cost of the project is about $72,000.

Long said that if the remaining money isn’t collected, the proposed pier could be shortened by about 10 feet for less money.

“I’m very confident that it will come. I think we’ve got a good strong foundation for it,” Long said.

One of the reasons for the longer pier is that about 20 feet of it is to make it handicap-accessible.

Before the pier can be built, several things need to be done first.

Permits need to be obtained from the U.S. Marine Resources Commission and the Army Corps. of Engineers.

The mayor also said the town has to complete a federal, state and local joint permit application.

The town is planning a river and shoreline cleanup with FOR for Saturday, Oct. 12.

In the winter, the landscaping, electrical work (where lights will be installed) and signage would be completed.

In the spring, the soft launch, plantings and work on pilings would be completed.

The soft launch is for kayaks and canoes—not for motorized boats.

The pier is for fishing, and there will be educational and historic signage on it.

The longer pier will allow users to see both directions on the river.

“It’s a great resource and you can’t get to it in Caroline unless you want to pay,” said town council member Jim Heimbach.

It will also provide a source of entertainment that doesn’t exist in that part of the county.

“We are currently not well-supplied with recreational facilities. This should be a real boon to the county,” Heimbach said.

Right now, there’s a long stretch of river with no public access to land. This would solve that problem.

Moncure said that adding this pier would allow for half-day paddles from Fredericksburg to the Port Royal pier.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413