By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
IUKA – Construction of 20 new transient boat slips at the J.P. Coleman State Park marina is expected to attract boaters from throughout North America as they navigate America’s Great Loop.
The marina’s positioning with access to the Tennessee River and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway probably helped the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks attract the $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior to construct the slips, said a Fisheries spokesman.
“The idea here is to have slips dedicated to people who are cruising the Tenn-Tom Waterway and the Tennessee River – the Great Loop – from Louisiana to the North Atlantic through a series of waterways,” said Fisheries coordinator Tom Holman. “Coleman is part of the Great Loop, so people can come from all over and dock up here at this marina.”
The total project cost is about $1.25 million, with the additional $450,000 being contributed by Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the Tishomingo County Board of Supervisors, the Tishomingo County Development Foundation and the Tombigbee River Valley Water Management District.
The marina already has 60 permanent slips, Holman said, and if any are not in use, the transient boaters may use them short-term as they move through the area. However, the transient slips to be constructed may be occupied for no longer than 10 days at a stretch. The new slips also are for use by boats too large to be trailered – at least 26 feet in length.
Winning this boating infrastructure grant was a competitive process that the department started working on in mid-2011, with the application submitted by the September deadline.
The project is in the very early stages, with the department’s finance and administration office soliciting bids from contractors. It will likely be up to 24 months before the project is completed, Holman said, about 12 months for the actual construction after the infrastructure and other elements are in place.