Constant’s Wharf Park and Marina opens

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 2, 2005

It’s been a long time coming.

But with the snip of ribbon, the Constant’s Wharf Park and Marina made its long awaited community debut Saturday. The 11 a.m. dedication ceremony kicked off an all-day celebration in the five-acre park and 28-slip marina behind the newly opened Hilton Garden Inn and Suffolk Conference Center.

More than three dozen city officials, citizens and boaters from the Nansemond River Power Boat Squad, who were anchored in the new marina, turned out for the ceremony.

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&uot;This is something for all citizens to enjoy,&uot; said Mayor Bobby L. Ralph. &uot;This didn’t happen overnight or by chance. It happened because of good planning.&uot;

Although the park and marina was included in a master plan about seven years ago, it moved to the forefront about five years ago, said Gerry Jones, the city’s capital projects manager. Since then, the city–particularly City Manager R. Steven Herbert-has been aggressively working on plans for the park.

&uot;He (Herbert) was pushing for the project to be first rate…something citizens would be proud of,&uot; Jones said.

The city has invested approximately $5 million into the park, including an extra $1.6 million the city had to spend after the marina’s bulkhead buckled in 2003. A new company had to be contracted to rip out and rebuild the bulkhead.

The city has filed lawsuits against Virginia Marine Structures, the company which built the original bulkhead, and Landmark Design Group, the architectural firm that designed it.