INDEPENDENCE -- The city of Independence has received almost $641,000 from the state to construct a new boat launch less than a mile downstream from Riverview Park.
The boat ramp is part of the city's larger north ballfield project, which sits on a 62.5 acre parcel of farmland at the northeastern edge of town off Highway 51.
The city received $580,000 from the Oregon Marine Board and another $61,600 from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife restoration enhancement program. The money must be spent by 2013.
The city has sought a new boat ramp for several years as a gravel bar near the current ramp at Riverview Park makes launching a boat treacherous when the water recedes, said Shawn Irvine, Independence economic development director.
"During the middle of the summer, you can almost walk half way across the river without getting your feet wet," Irvine said.
The money would pay for a new concrete ramp with piles, a floating dock and a parking lot with space for 34 boat trailers and 14 regular vehicle slots.
The site would be aimed at power boaters, while the city would remove the existing ramp in the park and establish it as a launch for kayakers, canoes and other non-motorized craft.
Irvine said the city will explore whether it can start construction this year, but it's likely ramp work would have to wait until next summer.