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Access to water being promoted
No construction schedule for county marina
This marina includes both a hoist and ramp for launching boats, as well as a fishing pier. - photo by Courier file photo
As warm weather creeps over the Southeastern coast, boating enthusiasts are once again uncovering their vessels and heading for the water.
There’s certainly no shortage of activities to keep coast dwellers occupied, from crabbing to boating to dolphin watching, there’s something for everyone. However, some Liberty County residents say it’s tough to enjoy all the area has to offer because public access to water is limited in many spots.
“It’s a shame. There’s not enough places for people to put their boats in,” said longtime coastal resident Bobby Hyde.
In response to the community’s requests for more access, the Liberty County Board of Commissioners has plans to build a marina on the east end of the county.
County Commissioner Eddie J. Walden said the board purchased land for a marina, however, the project is a long-term one, and the commissioners haven’t establish a construction plan for the site.
“You plan for the future,” Walden said. “We just took the opportunity to purchase the land and now we’re thinking about what we want in that area.”
Walden said he also thinks more water access is needed, but recreation isn’t a vital issue at this time.
The commissioners, however, aren’t the only party interested in helping more people discover the coast.
Terry and Anne Lyle, who are transforming their former restaurant, The Shrimp Docks, into a marina, said their primary purposes for opening a marina are to help bring business and tourism to the area and give local residents more boating opportunities.
The Lyles said they’ve been trying to get the marina up and running for a while but have been anchored with setbacks from the Liberty County Planning Commission. Terry Lyle said the LCPC  halted progress on the project while Lyle awaits a land disturbance permit.
Lyle said he has no problem with obtaining the required permits but after six months of not being allowed to work and $6,000 spent upgrading his property, he feels the processes are unneccesary and are costing him valuable money and time.
He said that because the land previously held both a shrimping marina in the 1940s and, most recently, a restaurant, there shouldn’t be many things stopping him from going forward with his plans.
“I already have a permit for the [boat] hoist and for fuel,” Lyle said.
Furthermore, Lyle said he’s already had the Department of Natural Resources out to the site to decide whether land disturbance is a concern and, according to Lyle, DNR representatives said there isn’t a problem.
The Lyles have become frustrated and started a petition in hopes of speeding up the process and demonstrating the community’s desire for the marina. The petition currently has the names of more than 300 people who support the marina’s speedy development
Once the marina is up and running, it will be a fuel and docking station for all different kinds of boats, but the couple expects to see a lot of shrimp boats. They also plan on hosting fishing tournaments and other boating events.
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