Baldwin County boaters may soon have more access to inshore and gulf waters thanks to a land purchase agreement made by the Baldwin County Commission. The purchase price would be for 7.5 million dollars with some earnest money due up front. The motion to enter into the purchase agreement was approved Tuesday, October 2, 2018.
The vote passed three to one with Commissioner Frank Burt voting against it. Fox 10 News first told you about this in May and since then, county officials have been working out details on this purchase agreement. The park would consist of up to 14 boat and kayak ramps and 400 parking spaces for trucks and trailers. With the land purchase and necessary improvements, county officials expect it to take about 10 million dollars to complete.
“The location of this property on the north side of the Intracoastal, right near the Foley Beach Express Toll Bridge allows folks to launch their boats without paying a toll and easy access back onto the Foley Beach Express to go north to leave the area as well,” said Baldwin County Commissioner, Chris Elliott.
The site is about 44 acres in all. It would be funded without using taxpayers’ dollars. Instead, the county is asking the state for GOMESA money to fund the project. The Gulf of Mexico Energy Securities Act provides gulf states with lease money from offshore drilling. Alabama’s share of that money is about 25 million dollars and is required to be spent in Mobile and Baldwin counties on coastal improvement projects.
“We needed to have a purchase agreement first. We needed to have a contract and that’s what this is, is a contract to purchase the property,” Elliott explained. “Now that the contract is there, it’s time to move forward with the funding.”
While the project has received mostly positive feedback, there have been concerns by some.
“There’s so many contingencies in there that would have to come together to make it happen that I just wasn’t ready and I thought the property had some environmental issues that we’d have to check that out and so on and too many other things that would hinder it,” said Baldwin County Commission Chairman, Frank Burt.
The county will be required to put up $100,000 initially and then an additional $400,000 later. The county hopes to get approval on the GOMESA funds from the Governor’s Office in the next 120 days, after which time that earnest money is due.