Out to launch County's delay prompts private marina to propose needed boat ramps.

January 18, 1996

PLEASURE MARINE CENTER'S proposal to quickly build five new boat ramps and about 10 additional boat slips near Bodkin Creek in Pasadena shows that the American spirit of free enterprise is alive and well.

After Anne Arundel County government failed to provide needed boat ramps quickly enough, the private marina saw a business opportunity. Nothing wrong with that.

One of Anne Arundel's big draws is its 430 miles of shorelines. No wonder it is a favorite of sailing and power boat enthusiasts. But while some sparsely populated Eastern Shore counties have a dozen or more public boat ramps, Anne Arundel has only two and calls for more have gone unheeded.

Last summer, County Executive John G. Gary raised hopes that things would improve when he announced he was considering three sites for additional county-operated ramps. But even though officials have been in negotiations to buy additional waterfront park land, things have not moved quickly.

Enter Pleasure Marine Center, which has 105 slips but no boat ramps at its compound on Poplar Ridge Road. "We have constant phone calls from people looking for ramps," said general manager Ed Sealing, recognizing a potential for growth.

If the marina goes ahead, its expansion could cost $400,000 but the ramps might be in use as early as this spring. All it needs are the required county approvals.

Meanwhile, county recreation officials deny they have been dragging their feet. They say their delays are caused by a time-consuming land acquisition process and the county's concern for adequate parking and neighboring homeowners' feelings if traffic on access roads increases dramatically.

That's all good and well. But the least the county can do in Pleasure Marine Center's case is to see to it that the firm's proposal is considered in a speedy manner.

We also urge the county to negotiate with Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke about installing a boat ramp at the city's Fort Smallwood Park, which sits five miles from the county line. That way pleasure boaters could be provided with the additional public facilities they have so vociferously asked for.

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