Ramp won’t block village

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 16, 2005

A planned boat ramp at Lone Star Lakes won’t impact the Nansemond Indian tribe’s Mattanock Town project if and when it is ever constructed.

Suffolk City Manager Steve Herbert told city council members Wednesday at their work session that the boat ramp has been &uot;one of the constants&uot; since the city undertook negotiations with the tribe on Mattanock Town.

Talks on the controversial proposal to build the authentic 17th century Indian village at Lone Star Lakes have been stalled for more than a year over city demands to see the tribe’s business plan for the project. The tribe has repeatedly declined to share their plan with city officials, but Herbert said he heard that one is being prepared.

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&uot;Our last conversation with the chief indicated they were working on a business plan and they would be back at some point with a plan,&uot; Herbert said, in response to a query from Chuckatuck borough Councilman Joseph Barlow.

&uot;One of the constants in the talks with them all along was that this marina was going to be there so I think what we are doing here will work.

&uot;Our hope would be that if the business plan is satis-factory…that we can get on with something with them.&uot;

The Mattanock Town discussion came up during a presentation on the boat ramp project by James G. Vacalis, assistant city manager.

Vacalis displayed diagrams showing the boat ramp’s future location on 10 acres in the vicinity of the lodge. It will have two launch lanes and piers on either side of the ramp. There will be a separate pier for launching canoes and kayaks.

The $1.6 million project is in the early design stages and &uot;We will have a boat ramp this time next year,&uot; Vacalis said.

Vacalis noted that the area will have to be dredged and that he is hoping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will contribute to that part of the project. If not, the city will have to contract with a private dredging firm.

Barlow said long time residents have indicated the area is prone to settling and that dredging will need to be done periodically.

&uot;So the expense would be a continuing thing and we should realize that may need to be continually done,&uot; Barlow said. &uot;It’s protected from the storms but the actual dredging need is going to be recurring.&uot;

Councilman Charles F. Brown urged the parks and recreation department to include a fishing pier for people who don’t own boats.

&uot;You have just as many people in this city, perhaps more, who fish from a pier and can’t afford a boat,&uot; Brown said. &uot;What I’m saying, Mr. City Manager and council, is that you’re forgetting about the poor people in this city who can’t afford a boat…If you’re going to have a fishing zone, it should be for everyone, not just those who are fortunate enough to have boats.&uot;