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PORT ROYAL—This little town beside the Rappahannock River plans to have its own 200-foot-long fishing pier by April, said Jim Heimbach, a member of the Port Royal Town Council.
The council recently contracted with Northern Neck Marine Construction to build a fishing pier and a soft launch that will allow for putting canoes and kayaks into the river, Heimbach said. “The pier will actually be just over 200 feet,” he noted.
Northern Neck Marine “had a good proposal and were the low bidder for the project,” Heimbach noted. The company won the approval first of a committee made up of Heimbach, Bill Carpenter and Sharon Farmer.
“Construction starts as soon as permits are issued, and the paper is already submitted, and weather permits,” Heimbach said. “It should be finished by April.”
The cost will be about $55,000 for basic construction, which doesn’t include signage, electrical work and ground improvements for parking. The pier will be at the end of King Street.
All along, council members have stressed that they want this pier to be wheelchair accessible and allow for fishing from a wheelchair. Along the 184-mile long Rappahannock River, the only pier that is currently designated for wheelchair fishing is the city dock in Fredericksburg.
Councilors have often noted that after a day of fishing for catfish from the pier, tourists might stop in for a meal at one of Port Royal’s restaurants, meaning a pier might help the local economy.
The soft launch (boat ramp) is also for non-motorized flat-bottom boats that can be hand-carried down to the river.
The pier comes at a time when the future is looking brighter for this town of less than 200 residents. The town recently got approval from the Caroline County Board of Supervisors to extend its boundary lines to include more businesses, which means more tax revenue for the financially struggling town.
Funding for the pier and soft launch has come from several sources: the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Freedom to Float, National Park Service, the Baughman Family Foundation, the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region, the Chesapeake Conservancy, and the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Project.