Recreational opportunities along the banks of the Dan River in South Boston are getting a huge boost with the announcement Monday of an $876,000 grant from the Recreational Trails Program of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to help build a boat landing at the southern entrance into downtown South Boston, according to Tom Raab, town manager for South Boston.
The Recreational Trails Program is a federal matching reimbursement program for building and rehabilitating trails and trail related facilities. Federal Highway Administration funds make the program possible and mandate allocations. Grant funds are funded by the Federal Highway Administration through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, according to Raab.
Preliminary engineering for the Greene’s Cross Boat Landing should be complete by July 2020 with a proposed completion date in mid-2021.
The town is pleased to bring access to the Dan River for motorized boats, kayaks and canoes on the Dan River Water Trail, Raab said.
The Dan River is a designated scenic river, and it will be promoted as part of the Southern Virginia Wild Blueway.
Part of the project will include recognizing the 1781 Crossing of the Dan by General Nathanael Greene as well as the rich history, fishing and boating opportunities offered on the Dan River.
Raab thanked the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for “this tremendous assistance” in developing more recreational and economic opportunities for Southside Virginia.
He also expressed appreciation to the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region’s RiverBank Fund Grant Program for a $50,000 grant to purchase one-half of the land where the landing is located.
“Special thanks go to the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation who generously donated the other half of the land for this landing,” Raab added.
In February of 2018, South Boston continued its quest for a visible access to the Dan River at the entrance to town with plans to build a boat, canoe and kayak launch.
At that time, Raab told council at Monday’s meeting that a boat launch is planned for the riverbank some 50-60 feet east of the pier on the south side of the Dan River, formerly part of the one-time covered bridge.
The boat launch will tie into the Southern Virginia Wild Blueway to Leggett’s Bottom, Staunton River State Park on the Dan River and King’s Bridge Landing in Halifax on the Banister River, according to Raab.
Raab listed expenses totaling $56,162.50 in real estate appraisals, surveys and purchase of property to facilitate construction of a boat ramp.
A real estate appraisal by Wayne Stevens cost $1,500, a survey of water levels conducted by B&B Consultants cost $2,399, and a survey of 5.6 acres of land belonging to Bur-Can II by Crutchfield & Associates cost the town $487.50, Raab said.
The town purchased developer John R. Cannon’s share of the property on Jan. 23, 2018 at a cost of $51,776.
Developer John E. “Ward” Burton III, co-owner of the property with Cannon, agreed to donate his share of the property as a match to secure grant funding for the town.
In 2017, the town was approved for a RiverBank Fund grant of $50,000 through the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region.
The pad for the former Victory Warehouse will be used for parking for the boat launch.
The funds will be used to provide a new highly visible access to the Dan River via a canoe/kayak/boat ramp, providing access to the river for fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking and swimming.
The ramp also will be handicapped accessible, according to Raab, and the site will cover 5.6 acres.