No action was taken on a proposed intergovernmental agreement that would bring a new Etowah River boat launch to Douthit Ferry Road at Thursday evening’s Cartersville City Council meeting.
Cartersville City Manager Tamara Brock told council members that the item was a last minute scratch from the agenda at a work session held prior to the Zoom-assisted public meeting.
“I know that [Councilman] Cary Roth and [Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini] had spoken to some of the residents that live back behind there,” she said. “The original launch location was directly behind several houses that live in, I guess it’s Riverside Court … we talked to the County last week about potentially moving it down to where it’s not behind any home.”
Brock said the County government is discussing the matter further with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR.) Bartow County officials initially applied for a grant to construct the launch, with the intent of turning it over to the City of Cartersville for operations and maintenance once the project is completed.
“There’s a potential no-dig archeological site there, so we are looking into that with the DNR to see where we can move it to,” Brock said. “Hopefully, we’ll have that resolved by the next council meeting.”
Santini discussed the proposed redesign for the launch project.
“If we were to cut the road in closer to the river like we thought was on the original plans, that would cause a real problem,” he said. “The new design is going to enter in through the gravel lot that currently exists there … but it would mean that we wouldn’t be adding a point of entry onto Douthit Ferry, we would enter through there and cut back to the boat launch.”
Roth also said the proposed boat ramp is likely to be relocated.
“Where it goes into the river is right there at the overlook where the Sam Grove bench is,” he said. “I think they’re proposing it to go to the next overlook or cut-through, which is further down, kind of in-between the City/County property.”
He also had questions about how the project ties into the “master plan” for Sam Smith Park expansions.
Santini responded, stating that the City does not necessarily have one for the property.
“There’s been thoughts of putting fields out there, there’s been thoughts of putting a multi-purpose building out there or even a YMCA,” he said. “But to say that there’s something in writing or something that’s totally planned for that area, at least my thought is ‘no.’”
Santini also addressed concerns from nearby homeowners.
“Our design does move it downstream, kind of in the triangle,” Santini said, “basically, further away from the residents.”
Roth said there appear to be some “misconceptions” about the proposed project.
“The buffer’s staying there,” he said. “If [the ramp] gets moved down, that would be very agreeable with a lot of folks — I think there’s support for it, I think it was just that not a lot of folks knew about it.”
For the time being, Santini said the City just has to wait and see if the DNR approves the project’s altered design.
“We just didn’t feel comfortable with council giving permission for us to proceed with something without ya’ll being able to see what it actually is that the City’s going to be doing,” he added.
Santini said he anticipates Bartow County officials hearing back from the DNR within the next week or so. Assuming the redesign is approved, the intergovernmental agreement between the City of Cartersville and Bartow County would be up for a council vote at a meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on June 4.