Anglers will soon have an easier time of it when they launch into Lake Seminole from the Howell’s Landing boat ramp.
Jackson County Commissioners recently selected the Whittaker Company to improve the ramp, and also authorized Public Works Director Rett Daniels to pursue money for an optional dock system that could make the site even more user-friendly.
However, the contractor can start the ramp work without that factor decided. The main work should take about a month. It did not appear to have started as of Thursday.
Three companies had bid for the job, with Whittaker the only one to submit separate bid on the basic ramp improvement job and one each on two alternatives included by the county when it advertised the job as it considered additional enhancements based on how much funding it could put toward the project when the time came. A dock system was one of the alternatives listed.
Whittaker bid the base at $96,184, with a $22,000 bid for the docking system and $25,816 on the other aspect of the job being considered.
UBS Marine had submitted a single bid of $176,000, incorporating both alternatives in the figure, and Missy Mossy, the only other bidding contractor, had offered a price of $198,450 for all three parts of the potential job.
Whittaker would have remained low bidder if the county had immediately opted to include the alternatives in the job as awarded.
The plan right now, if no additional money is obtained to pay for a dock system, is to extend the ramp 100 feet, placing it on top of the old ramp. The extension will allow bigger boats to launch there during dry times on the lake.
Back when county was awarded the grant for the improvement of the popular launch site, the state had approved enough to include a docking system, but prices have gone up since the award, Daniels told commissioners.
Daniels is hoping to obtain enough to make it possible, saying that the system would be a marked advantage because it would provide boaters a gangway upon which they could enter and exit their boats to the left and more easily and safely.