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Citizens complain about boat ramp near Dover at commission meeting

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Posted: June 4, 2008 10:44 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2008 5:00 a.m.
    Conditions of a boat landing on the Ogeechee River have deteriorated to the point that citizens complained during the Bulloch County Commission meeting Tuesday.
    To some, it's a party spot, and has been for years. But property owners and nearby residents are tired of the noise, the trash, and the disrespect shown by those who frequent the area beneath the bridge off U.S. 301 North near Dover.
    It's supposed to be a public landing for fishermen to access the river, but for years the area beneath the bridge has been a place for teenagers to hang out, for hot and sweaty citizens to take a dip in the Ogeechee, for anglers to wet a hook.  But as visitors became more disrespectful, area residents and property owners began complaining.
    About a year ago Prince Preston spoke to Bulloch County Commissioners about the problem, and efforts were made to discourage parties and hanging out. A sign was posted informing citizens that the landing was just that — a boat landing.
    Someone shot the sign and it seems no one paid it any attention, Preston said.
    Showing photographs of the trash, the graffiti, the shattered beer bottles, Preston said a barrier installed by the Georgia Department of Transportation has been damaged by people wanting access to the area.
    "This is a mess, and it's in my back yard," he said. "We are here to plea for some type of help for enforcing the law."
    Matters are worse now than they were a year ago, he said.
    Chester Sammons agreed. He lives in the area, too.
    "I've heard enough of the loud music, loud trucks in and out," he said, describing how some use the spot for mud bogging, and others use the area as a firing range. Residents can clearly hear the foul language used by some of  the people haunting the area, and the situation has become increasingly unpleasant, he said.
    The pollution is destroying the river as well, he said.
    People have taken over to the extent that someone brought in three picnic tables, carved with the words "Ogeechee River Beach Club," he told commissioners. "That was not the intent of that boat ramp when it was put in years ago."
    Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson spoke with Preston and Sammons outside the meeting room and upon his return to the meeting, told commissioners his department would increase patrol in the area and would continue enforcing the law.
    "We were out there last Sunday" making people leave, he said.
    
Other business
    Commissioners addressed several issues Tuesday, taking action on some.
    They voted unanimously to accept a bid from a local business to erect a steel building in the Middleground Community at a cost of $16,393. The county plans to place fire substations throughout the county, and the Middleground location will be  the first to be built because "that's the first piece of property given to the county," said Bulloch County Fire Chief Randy Walker.
    Members of  the Middleground Community, who owned the property collectively, donated the 50 feet by 100 feet plot, he said. "We're trying to go the route (by having land donated) to save money," he said.
    The building will be 20 feet by 40 feet, which will allow plenty of access room, he said.
    Others in the county have discussed donating land elsewhere for  the purpose of building fire substations, but nothing has yet been decided, walker said.
    Commissioners also agreed to purchase a rebuilt ground power unit to be used at the Statesboro-Bulloch County Municipal Airport. Two companies bid $15,000 for rebuilt units, but one company — Aeromotive — offered a unit at no cost for a month for the county to try, and plans to locate near the airport, which will be convenient for repairs and other needs.
    A ground power unit is used to jump start aircraft, saving the strain and wear on their batteries, and is also used to keep aircraft cool during long waits, thus saving fuel, said Jeff Herrington airport spokesman.
    The airport's new corporate hangar already has three jet aircraft renting space and gas sales have doubled since the hangar was erected, he said. Having a ground power unit will possibly lure more business, as visiting jets will pay to use the unit, he said.
     
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