Boat ramp upgrade gets Melbourne Beach officials’ approval

The Melbourne Beach boat ramp at 6th Avenue and the river sustained enough damage during Hurricane Matthew to warrant $6,500 in repairs. The cost includes a last-minute addition to the repairs: handrails on one side of the reconstructed ramp.

The commission at its March 15 meeting approved the supplement to make it easier for kayakers and paddle boarders to slide their boats into the water. The commissioners also agreed to match a private donation for plantings at Ocean Park and passed a resolution in opposition to legislation pending in the Florida legislature that would strip power from local governments

“I think hand rails would be safer,” Mayor Jim Simmons said in support of the boat ramp addition.

Also speaking in support, Commissioner Wyatt Hoover said the handrail would help when the boat ramp gets too slippery when wet.

But Commissioner Steve Walters opposed the inclusion. “The handrail won’t last six months before someone knocks in over.”

Town Manager Tim Day says the rails will be bolted into the concrete. The project cost comes from city coffers. The ramp also serves as the launch site for river rescues by the Melbourne Beach fire department.

The handrail expects to be installed this week. Day said the completed ramp will be ready for opening by March 27.

In other meeting news, the commission approved the donation of $500 to match the donation by resident Tamara Williamson for the addition of plants to help beautify Ocean Park.

The spending authorization by Williamson and the town is pending approval of the appropriate type of plants which will be decided at a workshop at the end of the month.

Commissioners also voted to oppose Florida House of Representatives HB 17, which bars local governments from imposing or adopting regulations on businesses, professions and occupations.

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