City hopes to lure river travelers with marina

Published 12:01 am Friday, March 14, 2008

VIDALIA — When it is completed, the marina the city of Vidalia is planning to build will have a floating dock that rises and falls with the river.

The board of aldermen voted Tuesday to accept a bid of $325,270 to begin construction of the first phase of the project.

During that phase, the existing boat ramp on the Vidalia riverfront will be completely restructured, with lighting added and the ramp extended down to the low-water level, Mayor Hyram Copeland said.

Email newsletter signup

The marina was included in the original plans when the city decided to develop the riverfront, and construction will hopefully begin when the river falls to its low point later in the year, Copeland said.

The goal of developing the marina is to entice those who use the river to navigate their pleasure boats to come to Vidalia, Vidalia Marketing Director Glen McGlothin said.

“We know it will work, but we just have to get our name out there and get established,” McGlothin said. “There are very few of these stops along the river, and we hope this will make Vidalia a destination down the river.”

The city has a tremendous amount of interest from boat owners going up and down the river, Copeland said.

“There is no facility from Vicksburg to Baton Rouge as far as docking is concerned,” he said. “You would be amazed at the amount of private boat traffic you have coming up the river.”

Those who dock at the marina will hopefully stay in Vidalia hotels and eat in Vidalia restaurants, McGlothin said.

“Even if they just stop here and go on to Natchez, it’ll benefit the entire area,” he said.

Depending on the size of the boats that dock there at a given time, the marina will be able to hold as many as 20 or 30 boats, Copeland said.

The floating dock will be a part of the second phase of the project.

Other plans being considered for the project include adding a fueling station at the marina and expanding the parking lot area at the boat ramp.

If businesses want to develop on the riverfront near the marina, the decision whether or not to allow that will be left to the riverfront authority, Copeland said.

The project will be funded by a $264,000 grant and $79,270 from the lease money generated by the Holiday Inn slated to be constructed on the riverfront.