Bainbridge -- Construction began this week on the $1.2 million project. The idea for the marina has been in the works for years, but it will be a reality in just a few short months.
The city of Bainbridge earned its nickname, "The Port City" because of its location. It sits nearly directly on the Flint River. "The river is a vital part of our community and its' really an asset that we have not capitalized on it as much as we could," says City Manager Chris Hobby.
Talks to change that began nearly eight years ago, and have been continuing ever since. "We did a feasibility study about a year and a half ago and the feasibility study bore out the need for a marina facility in Bainbridge," Hobby says.
Since that time, the project's moved quickly. The city recently signed a contract with North American Marine Industries to build a 42 slip marina. The company began installing floating docks on Monday and has already made tremendous progress.
"This is the larger of the four docks so the rest will be downhill from here," said Ray Blair of North American Marine.
The marina will eventually be able to house boats of just about any size with slips ranging from 20 to 60 feet. It won't be long until this phase of the project is complete.
"I'm thinking, four weeks maybe max, to complete the project," said Blair.
But there will be much more to come. "We'll have to come back behind them and create boat launching ramps, and a new parking lot, we'll have a marina store, with bathroom facilities and shower facilities and a laundry facility so we can accommodate our customers," said Hobby.
The marina is funded by a local sales option tax, and a $500,000 grant from the One Georgia Authority. Total cost? Over 1.2 million dollars. But the city hopes ultimately the project will spur economic development.
"The marina is one part of a total master plan that we have for river development," said Hobby.
The hope is that development will bring life to the river that's so important to this community.
The city hopes to have the marina up and running by this summer.