The Canton-based Upper Etowah River Alliance and the Rome-based Coosa River Basin Initiative, have approached the city of Canton with the possibility of building a launch for canoes and kayaks to enter the river.
Diane Minick, watershed director for the Upper Etowah River Alliance, said the launch would sit at the end of a cul-de-sac and would most likely be a ramp-style launch.
Typically, Minick said launches are built with steps, but that “may not be appropriate” with this site, as the soil is softer.
The proposed Etowah River park sits at the end of Brown Industrial Parkway off Highway 20 near exit 19 off Interstate 575, and was slated to be the next site of a baseball and softball complex.
The development, a partnership with Cherokee County and the city of Canton, would be paid for with funds from the $90 million county parks bond.
However, council members decided last month to halt plans to move forward after the roughly $7 million price tag did not yield what they initially thought would be included in the park.
City leaders also indicated the land was located in a floodplain and flood way, making it an undesirable location for baseball and softball fields.
Councilman Bill Bryan is set to bring up the topic of the launch during the council’s meeting tonight.
Minick said the city would not have to foot the bill as CRBI has $25,000 set aside to build the ramp. She also said she hopes she could get local businesses to donate items such as timber, stone, sand material and rebar.
Bryan, along with Minick, added the launch is a “public safety” issue as there are no safe places for canoes and kayaks to enter safely into the Etowah.
“There’s no where in Canton to safely put in and take boats out of the river,” Bryan added.
Minick said both river awareness groups plan to utilize the talent of Jasper-based Mountain Stewards to build the launch.
If the council is satisfied with the plans, Minick said organizations would have to pull the proper permits with the city and said the building could take up to a week.
She added she hopes to have the project completed by early next year.
Along with the safety factor, Minick said the project could also help create awareness about the river.
“It will get people on the river so they can see what the Etowah is all about,” she said.
That, she added could spark interest in the CRBI and the UERA.
She also said the launch could be a project that could bring tourists into Canton, which she added “would bring revenue into the city.”