Correction: Owners of two marinas say information provided to the Courier by the Department of Natural Resources and reported earlier concerning their businesses was incorrect. Kilkenny Marina in Bryan County is not closed, the owner says. And Liberty County's Half Moon Marina is not for sale, according to owner Ann Rowe.
When the Liberty County Commission meets Tuesday, its members are expected to discuss -- and likely decide -- on purchasing waterfront property to provide public access to water.
Although real estate transactions are one of the exemptions to the law requiring public business to be transacted openly, many Liberty Countians believe they know the deal the commissioners are considering.
Waterfront property on Cattle Hammock Road is rumored to be the site of a planned marina, which the county might operate or which might be operated by a public/private partnership.
Without advocating any particular site, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has provided general information on public access to water along the state's coast.
And the picture is not pretty. DNR's Coastal Resources Division said six drive-up marinas have been lost to public use in the last five years.
DNR counts Yellow Bluff Marina as among those lost to the public because it is part of an exclusive residential development. Plans call for its eventual closure to the public, although it is open to the public now.
South of Liberty, the marinas at Pine Harbor, Troup Creek, the Brunswick Marina and the Hickory Bluff Marina have been closed.
Brunswick Marina was closed because of sedimentation in its harbor and deteriorating facilities. The other five will not be available for the general public because they have been purchased by developers who restrict their use.
While good access to water is being lost, DNR says that the demand for it is increasing. In 1988, there were 17,421 boats registered in the six coastal counties. In 2005, boat registrations had jumped to 25,636, an increase of 47 percent.
Other items on the county agenda for Tuesday include:
* Disposal of the former Labor Department building at 135 S. Main St., possibly to the city of Hinesville or the Downtown Development Authority.
* Authorization of a July 15 referendum to allow and regulate sale of alcohol by the drink on Sundays.
* Consideration of the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission's recommendation to deny a request by the development authority to put a concrete plant in a residential neighborhood near Riceboro in the edge of Tradeport Business Center West.
* Announcement of the "blue ribbon" committee to oversee Liberty Regional Medical Center.