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ADICA to build canoe/kayak launches on Flint

College students Rochelle Dukes, left, and Deidre Hicks take a break from their studies and spend a little quiet time at Riverfront Park in this file photo from February.

College students Rochelle Dukes, left, and Deidre Hicks take a break from their studies and spend a little quiet time at Riverfront Park in this file photo from February.

ALBANY, Ga. -- The question has long lingered among downtown Albany economic developers: How do we actively involve the magestic Flint River in our plans?

That puzzle has now been solved, and a group that came up with -- and followed through on -- plans to put kayak/canoe/non-motorized vessel launches on the Flint adjacent to the city's popular Riverfront Park is eagerly working through the process that will bring the launches to the river by late summer or early fall.

"This is something I started looking at when I first got here (more than two years ago)," Downtown Manager/Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority President Aaron Blair said Friday. "But we kept running into roadblocks."

Finally Blair and downtown Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Rashelle Beasley brought together a team to help them get through those roadblocks.

"We got (city planner) Tracy Hester, folks from Lanier Engineering who have a great deal of interest in the river and Michael White from Darton (State College) together to help us come up with a plan," Beasley said. "The engineers at Lanier found the perfect places to put the launches, and everyone helped us work with DNR and the Army Corps of Engineers to see what we had to do to put in the launches."

The group was told it needed a buffer variance, a permit that requires a considerable amount of paperwork. But the group persisted. And now their efforts are bearing fruit: The design of the project has been approved, and permitting is expected to soon follow, paving the way for work on the project as soon as the river level allows, probably some time in August or September.

"What it eventually took," Beasley said, "is for a group to get involved that would not take no for an answer."

Blair said the original plan was to locate the launches off Third and Society avenues to "tie in to existing neighborhoods." But geography at those locations proved too big an obstacle. Lanier engineers came up with the approved locations: The Cypress Point Launch near the old railroad tressell just north of Riverfront Park and the Ray Charles Launch near the Oglethorpe Bridge adjacent to Ray Charles Plaza.

ADICA is expected to fund the project, estimated to cost around $50,000, which will also include improvements to accommodate non-motorized vessels at the existing Cox Landing launch near Chehaw Park.

City Manager James Taylor, who has long been a proponent of utilizing the Flint in downtown development plans, said Friday he was excited to hear of the progress made on the launch project.

"Very few cities have the luxury of a river running through them," Taylor said. "People who visit here are always telling me they're amazed by the river; rightfully so, because the Flint is an incredible body of water.

"I don't believe we utilize the river as much as we could, and this is definitely a good step. I think Aaron and his folks have come up with a good plan of making the river a vital part of downtown development."

The timing of the plan couldn't be better. In June, some 350 water enthusiasts will make their way through Albany along the Flint as part of the Paddle Georgia education program.

"This opens the possibility of marketing Albany to a totally different demographic," Beasley said. "With Chehaw's awesome campgrounds, our downtown attractions and a hotel (the downtown Hilton Garden Inn) along the river, it's an excellent tourism opportunity for us."

Blair said ADICA may look at other launches soon after the Cypress Point and Charles launches are completed.

"It makes sense to do these 'easy' ones first," he said. "But we're looking at other launches -- definitely one on the east side of town -- soon. We want to engage the river as much as possible."

Comments

whattheheck 12 months ago

The serpentine ramp the girls are sitting on was built by--drumroll please--ATI to be the Indian Beach Canoe Rentals. It was in the original downtown master plan but the designer didn't seem to realize how far it is to the water at most times. It would take the likes of Tonto, Hiawatha, and a U-Haul to carry a canoe that far for kimosabe.
But this site was the finish point for a trip planned to start at Cleve Cox Landing. The design guy from Denver failed to realize there is a dam to be negotiated along the route. Obviously, this effort undertaken so many years ago bit the dust. Looks like the problem still to be overcome is ingress and egress from the river, no easy task for non-Indians. And with the fluctuations in water levels at these points, the plan may be more of a nice dream than a practical reality...

So, the question that needs answering now is "Have we learned from the past?" Make a field trip carrying a canoe strapped to the back and see how it works before you jump in too deep. .

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FryarTuk 12 months ago

Outstanding observations: "And with the fluctuations in water levels at these points, the plan may be more of a nice dream than a practical reality...

So, the question that needs answering now is "Have we learned from the past?" Make a field trip carrying a canoe strapped to the back and see how it works before you jump in too deep. . . "

Absolutely, do it right. Your points are critical and re-enforce the wisdom of solid planning by a person knowledgeable of canoeing, kayaking, tubing in "flatland" rivers with dams. BTW the dams do not have to be a lethal impediment. I hope you will share all you know with the planning group before it makes off the drawing board.

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Amazed2 12 months ago

Just remember which way the river flows. If you put a canoe or kayak in the water at RiverFront your floating downstream away from Albany. Soon you are in Crack Town if you want to get out. What you need really is a Tour Type Operator with Vans or Bus much like the raft people do in the north Ga mountains. The defunct Skate Park Facility might be a good place to use. I think you should have point of entry upstream of downtown and main exit point at Riverfront area. Otherwise the all float away to be robbed in crack town downstream it they end up in Mitchell County.

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whattheheck 12 months ago

Upstream from the northernmost proposed landing was apparently dismissed for launch because you can't get to the river, a problem with the north trail location. It is not a riverwalk like Columbus or Chattanooga where there are many access points with parking and you are close to the water. On ours, there are few points where the river can be seen up close or reasonably accessed so it is really a 6"x12' miles long ribbon of concrete. Last time I was on it going north, there were only a few benches, some facing away from the river, until Oxford Park. A nice place to walk but don't forget it will be a round trip, tough on tired feet while toting whinny children wanting a drink and a potty break. lol

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Amazed2 12 months ago

Crack town is South Albany !!! Mitchell County was meant as the boonies,,

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erock 12 months ago

You want me to launch my canoe here? The hoodlums down there are watching. The moment you get around the first bend, they break out your windows and steal everything you've got. I stay away from Blalock too. I'd rather drive to the Hooch.

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FryarTuk 12 months ago

GREAT IDEA! The careful use of the Flint River will help regenerate positive interest in downtown! It will bring people who are there for their interests and not just to pick their pockets by selling trinkets and junk. Canoeing, kayaking, tubing. An annual canoeing/kayaking event. Brings people, fun, and monet! I don't want to get too far afield but this type of activity could really help generate a change in downtown as a "natural" business occurrence. Do not turn it over to a city or county function.

"City Manager James Taylor, who has long been a proponent of utilizing the Flint in downtown development plans . . ." Jr. Langstaff, Piker, Tommie Postell do not wear this man out and run him off like you did Lem Edwards. He's the only remaining barrier between the ABY City Commission and total bureaucratic anarchy.

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FryarTuk 12 months ago

"This opens the possibility of marketing Albany to a totally different demographic," Beasley said. "With Chehaw's awesome campgrounds, our downtown attractions and a hotel (the downtown Hilton Garden Inn) along the river, it's an excellent tourism opportunity for us."

MUSIC to an entrepreneur's ears. Anybody listening?

Word of caution: be careful about multiple launch sites. Limited supervision and maintenance issues can become prohibitive factors for success. Get some folks with a bit of experience and you may have kicked up a winning idea. I am all in if it's done correctly.

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Somebody 12 months ago

I would hope they require canoe riders to wear life jackets. They should have some type of monitoring system to keep track of riders and make sure each one is accounted for. I can see it now...someone loses control. canoe tips over, canoe rider drowns, another lawsuit for the city of Albany.

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Sister_Ruby 12 months ago

Now that Albany's downtrodden have free food, free school meals, virtually free housing, a BMW parked in front of every hovel, and an Obamaphone.........I guess all that's left is a free kayak or canoe. Pony up, taxpayers!

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Amazed2 12 months ago

I suggest we hire a consultant to do an extensive survey and evaluation of the black community. Not sure they are into the kayak and Canoe scene??

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Amazed2 12 months ago

Hey what happens when the power companies open the gates of the power damm 's upstream?? I think the water rises??

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DRTexas 12 months ago

Then the kayaks go faster.

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Amazed2 12 months ago

Or slower if they close the gates

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lowercasejesus 12 months ago

Why am i picturing huck finn style rafts going down the river?

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southernbelle 12 months ago

Couldn't sleep...had a nightmare that Carlton misspelled "majestic" and "trestle" (see "magestic" and "tressel")

Woke up...it came true.

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Sister_Ruby_Two 12 months ago

"As one who takes this profession and its requirements seriously...." as self-assessment from C. Fletcher hisself.

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Gollygee 11 months, 4 weeks ago

No one on the AH staff can spell. Maybe they can have someone in Tallahassee spell check it for them or just hire a 10 yr old kid with half a brain. AH, if someone brings up a mistake, own up to it and fix it. Don't make yourself look worse by leaving it out there for others to see. This is funny considering the ad on the home page about getting kids to read the paper. Why would I want my kids to learn how to misspell words?

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Amazed2 12 months ago

The First Tee property is available and has a great building already there. The City could do some renovations and guarantee $500,000 in low interest loans. Pay the operator a $100,000 a year plus expenses and we can be in the kayak and Canoe Float trip business. Might need another Hotel though to house all the people. Signs on GeorgiA 520 and I-75 and Albany can pick off some if not all the Florida Travelers. Sell joint float Trip and River aquarium Tickets.Man we can save the River aquarium and fill the hotels All just in time for New IrleNs on Front Street. Ma

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Gollygee 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Good idea on the launch for canoes and kayaks. Hopefully some maps about where they will be located as well as maps for where to take out will be published. Like other posters have indicated, you need to be able to get out of the river safely once you're on it.

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J.D._Sumner 11 months, 4 weeks ago

If you read the story, you'll see a photo with proposed launch sites. Just to make it easier on you, in case scrolling up may to arduous a task, I've attached a copy for you.

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