Project Manager: Joseph A. Murphy
Chair, Point Marion Borough Recreation Committee
420 Ontario Avenue
Point Marion, PA 15474
1. Need. Point Marion, located at the confluence of the Monongahela and Cheat Rivers, is a natural site for the development of recreational boating activities. The Monongahela River has been described as one of the most scenic navigable rivers in America yet it remains a hidden treasure. It enjoys historic importance as a commercial waterway dating to the pre-colonial period in America. Navigable waterways were the route to opening the American West as well as the precursor to modern interstate highways in moving raw materials and manufactured goods.
Now, however, the heyday of commercial activity on the Monongahela River has passed. The future of river traffic lies in recreational boating. Tourism is fast becoming the number one industry in southwestern Pennsylvania as well as north central West Virginia. Because of the development of recreational boating facilities on the Upper Mon River in neighboring West Virginia, this area of southwestern Pennsylvania is poised to reap the same type of economic benefits if appropriate infrastructure is provided.
As stated in the water trail plan of the Upper Mon River Association (16 August 2002), there is one overriding reason for the relative lack of recreational boating on the Monongahela River: "There's no place to go. That is, transient facilities for cruising boats on the Upper Mon are virtually non-existent." That statement applies also to the pools downstream from Morgantown and the Point Marion lock (Lock 8).
The Upper Monongahela Water Trail Special Interest Group is working on a vision to establish an historical and ecological boat trail. To reach that goal, proper infrastructure must be in place, and that means public docks. The group has already published a map from Fairmont, West Virginia to Ten Mile Creek, (near Rice's Landing ) Pennsylvania. It details the public access areas, the river communities, the visitor services and the natural resources of the area.
Point Marion is named as a point of interest on this map and its Community Park is pictured. The Point Marion Community Park, located just downstream from Lock 8 is an excellent location for fishing and for bank anglers. In the early 1980's, a boat launch was built at the edge of the 14-acre Park with the assistance of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. That launch plays a key role for the numerous fishermen and small boat owners in the area. The present grant application would, if approved, enable the town to accommodate larger non-trailerable boats consistent with the waterway needs envisioned by the federal program.
Among the services available at the Park are: restrooms, picnic pavilions, ball fields, playground, parking and boat ramp. Among the services available in the business district are: supermarket, restaurants, gas, hardware store, auto parts store, pizza shop, ice cream store, bank and legal beverages.
The annual Albert Gallatin Regatta in May during the Memorial Day weekend is the principal community activity for residents. It attracts hundreds of out-of-town visitors and is held in the Community Park. If docking facilities were available, it would attract additional boaters to the area.
In June 2003, the Point Marion Borough Council established its Recreation Committee to coordinate recreation initiatives within the Borough. The immediate priorities of that group are to plan an extension of the West Virginia Rail Trail from the state line into Point Marion and beyond, thus providing the sourthernmost link of the Sheepskin Trail proposed ten years ago, and to prepare for participation in the Upper Mon River Water Trail program launched in July 2003. The next task in the Point Marion part of the Water Trail is to build a dock to accommodate recreational boaters stopping in Point Marion during their 60+-mile water trail excursion.
Given the reduced tonnage of commercial traffic on the Mon River, communities along the water trail envision increased tourism as a partial replacement for lost resources. That assumption, in fact, underlies the concept of the Upper Mon River Water Trail.
The five locks along the water trail will be made available for this increased recreational activity. All recreational vessels may use the locks without charge and passage usually takes around 20 minutes. There are currently some private marinas or docks that allow overnight tie-ups for a fee but the number is inadequate for the full functioning of the envisioned water trail. This is especially true in the case of non-trailerable boats. There is presently no transient dock available in Point Marion.
According to US army Corps of Engineers data on Recreational Boat Transits of Locks on the Upper Half of the Monongahela River for the year 2001, there were 238 upbound and 231 downbound transits of pleasure boats at the Point Marion Lock 8. This number would doubtless increase if docking facilities for transient non-trailerable boats over 26ft were available at Point Marion. Such public docks and other shore-side facilities would make a stopover in Point Marion both possible and attractive to boaters, with attendant economic benefits to the town. It could attract boaters from the Pittsburgh area as well as the West Virginia area.
Concurrent development of the Sheepskin Rail-Trail on the other side of the Point Marion Park will be another enticement to boaters to drop anchor in Point Marion. The Trail will be a level bike ride or walk into the nearby business district. Even now, Main Street is a short, level connection to the businesses in town.
In short, there are many benefits to having a dock at the Community Park available for transient, non-trailerable boats 26 ft. and longer. The Monongahela River itself would again be a focal point of activity. Boaters would have a new opportunity to access free Park facilities as they enjoy the River. A small community in southwestern Pennsylvania would have new opportunities for economic development.
2. Objective. The Point Marion Borough Recreation Committee will design and construct Phase I of a permanent docking facility for up to 10 vessels of 26 feet each at the Point Marion Community Park, and a smaller single dinghy dock. The Point Marion Marina, in its first stage of development, will provide floating docks with safety and ADA features, electrical hookups, sewage pumpout, water, security lighting, video surveillance, signage, and links to local ground transportation. This project will give the non-trailerable boats on the Monongahela River a destination in a reasonably full-service town with land transportation available for disembarked boaters.
The facility will provide access to the convergence of three pedestrian and biking trails. For those desiring ground transportation access to the trail recreation, shopping and restaurants, car rentals will be available through a local automobile dealership, subject to prior reservation and availability.
Restaurants, a supermarket, motel, laundromat, auto parts store, hardware store, a cash machine and bank, and a convenience store are less than a half-mile from the Point Marion Marina location. The Friendship Hill National Historic Site (18th - 19th century home of Albert Gallatin) is approximately four miles away and is reachable by either bicycle or automobile.
In Phase II of this project, not to be funded under this proposed grant award, a riverfront restaurant concession would be awarded to a private business. That restaurant would also take over responsibility for day-to-day supervision of the docks, and referrals for auto rentals and other support services needed by boaters. In addition, if demand warrants, Phase II would include additional dockage facilities and a fuel station.
This Phase I facility will be a complement to nearby boating facilities as either an additional destination or alternative in case of overcrowding. The Two Rivers Marina is approximately 1.5 miles downstream. The Point Marion Lock and Dam is approximately 0.5 miles upstream. The Friendship Hill National Historic Site (approximately 4 miles downstream) has an area where canoes may be beached, but no plans to develop dockage for power boats. Morgantown, West Virginia has plans to develop a small marina approximately 10 miles upstream of Point Marion.
3. Expected Results and Benefits. The Point Marion Marina will add needed services and docking capacity to this section of the Monongahela River. Presently, between Morgantown and Point Marion, there are publicly available tie-ups for only two boats greater than 26' in length. Those two slips are both in Star City, West Virginia, and they offer virtually no services.
The nearest marina of any size is the Two Rivers Marina near Dilliner, Pennsylvania, approximately 1.5 miles downstream, but Two Rivers offers no supermarket, convenience shopping, selection of restaurants, cash machine, land transportation, or the array of other services available in Point Marion. While Two Rivers does offer fuel service and one restaurant with limited hours, it offers no sewage pumpout and is primarily designed for smaller, trailerable boats. The Riverside Marina, near Van Voorhis, West Virginia (5 miles upstream of Point Marion) offers limited service docking and fuel, primarily for a small number of trailerable boats. In summary, the Point Marion Marina will be a needed addition to this section of the Monongahela River.
The 10 new slips to be constructed at the Point Marion Marina with the National Boating Infrastructure Program funding will provide a benefit to boaters, the community of Point Marion, and surrounding attractions. Point Marion hosts the Albert Gallatin River Regatta each year on the Memorial Day weekend in the Point Marion Community Park, adjacent to the location for the Marina. This event already attracts visitors from the surrounding area. With the addition of the Point Marion Marina, the economic benefit to the community from the Regatta weekend will be greatly enhanced. Local and more distant boaters will find it easy to dock at the Marina for the day or overnight and enjoy the Regatta. This will serve as an introduction to Point Marion that will encourage return visits and enjoyment of other nearby attractions.
Table 1 shows the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers pleasure vessel lockage data for the six upper locks on the Monongahela River in 2001. These figures clearly indicate that the usage of the upper portion of the river lags behind that of the lower sections. This is partly due to the relative lack of facilities in the upper pools of the Monongahela. The additional services provided by the Point Marion Marina will encourage owners of the larger boats to venture farther up the River.
Table 1. Recreational Boat Transits of Locks on the Upper Half of the Monongahela River, 2001.
Point Marion is the converging point for three major hiking and biking trails that will be attractive to transient boaters desiring a "land experience" in addition to their water travels. The Mon River Trail will arrive in Point Marion from Morgantown, West Virginia, in 2004. In 2005, the Sheepskin Trail is planned for construction from Point Marion to the Cheat Lake Dam, near Lake Lynn, Pennsylvania. From Lake Lynn, trail users may connect to the existing Cheat Lake Trail that begins at a parking area near the Cheat Lake dam. In addition to those trails, the Greene Trail from Greene County, on the western bank of the Monongahela, is being developed for future years.
4. Approach. In the fall of 2003, Point Marion Borough will undertake the design of the Point Marion Marina using donated time from local PA-registered civil/environmental engineers. Those engineers have already engaged in preliminary site surveys and cost estimation. Following the design, the Borough will solicit bids for the fabrication and installation of the Point Marion Marina facilities. The facility will consist of a 300' floating dock, 6' in width. Two ADA accessible gangways with railings, near each end, will provide access to and from the docks. For further protection of moored vessels, a debris deflection boom will be placed upstream of the docks. In addition to the contracted fabrication and installation work, the Point Marion Borough Utilities Department will donate services and equipment for the construction of sewage, water, and electrical services to the docks. Local businesses will be encouraged to donate specific items, with advertising ("Electrical outlet service provided by ") to credit their donation. The Phase I Marina will make use of existing restroom facilities in the Point Marion Community Park, but those restrooms will be upgraded to ADA accessibility under this grant. In addition, the shower facilities already in the existing restroom building will be renovated for ADA accessibility. Since the existing restrooms are separated from the dockage area by grass, the proposed grant would pave a path from the dock area to the restrooms, showers and pumpout device storage, taking a route through the park that is separated from passing road traffic.
Concession arrangements with local private businesses contracted by the Borough are planned as a means of providing part-time onsite dock supervision during Phase I. Video surveillance and dusk to dawn lighting will provide additional security. During times when the concession is not staffed at the Marina, telephone contact (as indicated by the signage) will provide prompt services as needed. Secondary services, such as car rental, will be available per reservation. In addition to concession phone numbers, the signage will direct boaters to locations of interest, including the nearby hiking and biking trails, Friendship Hill National Historical Site, local businesses, and Community Park restrooms.
The Point Marion Borough will own and maintain the Marina through the Recreation Committee and Utilities Department.
Table 2 is a Task Schedule for the project's engineering, contracting, construction, and operation.
Table 2. Task Schedule for Point Marion Marina Project, Phase I
*This and all subsequent events assume award from the Boating Infrastructure Program.
Several innovative techniques will be employed to foster awareness and encourage use of the Point Marion Marina. In addition to routine publicity techniques (press release, grand opening announcements, brochure mailout, web page launch), the managers of the Point Marion Marina will offer:
5. Location. The project location is approximately N 39° 44.1' W 79° 54.3'. The location is illustrated on Figures 1 and 2.
6. Estimated Costs. Table 3 provides preliminary cost estimates (pre-bid):
Table 3. Preliminary cost estimates* for Point Marion Marina Project, Phase I (pre-bid).
*Property value of project area is not reflected
7. Fees. Consistent with other Monongahela River transient boating facilities with similar amenities, the Point Marion Marina will initially charge $0.50/foot/night up to 10 nights, with a minimum fee of $13.00 per night ($16.00 with electrical service). These fees are comparable to other facilities in the area. (Two Rivers: $15.00/$18.00 per night; Engles Harbor: $0.50/foot/night). Use of the pumpout facilities will cost $5.00 per event, also comparable to other facilities in the area. The fees are subject to re-evaluation as market conditions change. The dockage, pumpout, and electrical service fees will be collected by the concessionaire staff, and will be separated from revenue from other concession services. All revenues generated from the use of the Marina will be used for the operation and maintenance of the Marina.
The Point Marion Marina plans to offer discounts on Marina charges with receipts that indicate patronage of Point Marion businesses, as well as occasional promotional coupons.
8. Summary Per CFR Title 50, Section 86.60, the Point Marion Marina Phase I Project meets most of the criteria for ranking projects. The following narrative provides a summary of how the proposal meets each criterion.
a. Plan to construct, renovate, and maintain tie-up facilities for transient nontrailerable recreational vessels following priorities identified in your State's program plan that the Secretary of the Interior has approved.
The tie-up facilities proposed under this application will be appropriate for and available to nontrailerable recreational vessels of at least 26' in length.
b. Provide for public/private and public/public partnership efforts to develop, renovate, and maintain tie-up facilities. These partners must be other than the Service and the lead State agency.
This project will entail partnerships with several local
private and public entities. Local businesses (Point Marion Ford,
The Brass Rail Motel and Bar, TCBY, Saulie's Bar and Grille,
Art's Auto Parts, Point Marion Hardware, Apple Annie's
Restaurant, and the UnoMart) have indicated willingness to at
least consider paying for parts of the Marina facilities
(electrical outlets, benches, etc.) in exchange for name
recognition. The Marina will offer discounts on dockage fees upon
presentation of same-day receipts from local merchants. The
Friendship Hill National Historical Site (National Park Service)
will provide brochures and a display illustration to encourage
boaters to extend their visit to Friendship Hill. The Marina will
referrals to rental automobiles to encourage visits to Friendship
Hill and other attractions outside of Point Marion.
c. Use innovative techniques to increase the availability of tie-up facilities for transient nontrailerable recreational vessels (includes education/information).
In addition to publicity techniques (press release, grand opening announcements, brochure mailout, web page launch), the managers of the Point Marion Marina will offer:
o Discounts on transient and other fees, upon presentation of a receipt for a minimum amount from a local merchant (restaurant, hardware store, etc.) for the dates of the transient stay.
o Promotion of a "Point to Point Cruise". Boat clubs and marinas in the Pittsburgh area will be invited to cruise from the Point in Pittsburgh to Point Marion, with Point Marion residents providing free sleeping accommodations in Point Marion homes during the period of their overnight dockage in Point Marion.
o Coupons for a free night's dockage. These will be offered to area boat clubs as an "introduction" of the Point Marion Marina to area boaters.
o Opportunity for businesses to purchase equipment for the Marina in exchange for recognition via a "donated by" plaque.
o Opportunity for businesses to purchase advertising space on the docks.
d. Include private, local, or other State funds in addition to the non-Federal match.
Local civic organizations (Point Marion Rotary, Point Marion Lions, Community Civic Organization) have expressed interest in non-specific donations. In addition, local engineers, administrators, and Point Marion Borough will donate in-kind services and materials in the amount of $34,500. These donations are detailed in the Cost Estimate section of the application, above.
e. Proposal is cost efficient. Proposals are cost efficient when the tie-up facility or access site's features add a high value compared with the funds from the proposal, for example, where you construct a small feature such as a transient mooring dock within an existing harbor that adds high value and opportunity to existing features (restrooms, utilities, etc.). A proposal that requires installing all of the above features would add less value for the cost.
This proposal is cost efficient in that it will be located adjacent to an existing park and recreational trail, boat launch ramp, and parking area. Existing restrooms at the park will be utilized, along with other playground equipment that would be of interest to children arriving by boat. The park includes basketball and tennis courts, as well as soccer and baseball fields. It will be easy for disembarking boaters to stretch their legs and find other diversions in the park. Existing utility services at the park (water, electric) will be extended to provide new outlets at the new Marina.
f. Provide a significant link to prominent destination way points such as those near metropolitan population centers, cultural or natural areas, or that provide safe harbors from storms.
The Point Marion Marina will facilitate rental automobile transportation (via referral to Point Marion Ford) to the Friendship Hill National Historic Site, Cheat Lake, Cooper's Rock State Forest, and such similar destinations of interest to boaters.
g. Provide access to recreational, historic, cultural, natural, or scenic opportunities of national, regional, or local significance. Projects that provide access to opportunities of national, regional, or local significance receive 5 points for each for a maximum of 15 points.
The Point Marion Marina will facilitate rental automobile transportation (via referral to Point Marion Ford) to the Friendship Hill National Historic Site, Cheat Lake, Cooper's Rock State Forest, and such similar destinations of interest to boaters.
h. Provide significant positive economic impacts to a community.
The Point Marion Marina Phase I Project will have a siginificant positive economic impact on the community of Point Marion. Several local businesses offer services of immediate interest to boaters: Saulie's Bar and Grille; The Brass Rail Motel and Bar; Point Marion Foodland; Apple Annie's Restaurant; Point Marion Hardware; Sporty's Pizza Oven and Grille. In addition to existing businesses, the Point Marion Marina could raise interest in a "bed and breakfast" in Point Marion, either on or off the river. During Phase II, the Marina would be expanded to include a new waterfront restaurant and full-scale bicycle rental shop), which would be a combination (full service dockage, restaurant, bicycle rentals) unmatched on the entire Monongahela River. The restaurant would be designed to attract primarily non-boaters, for a "water-front dining experience". The economic impact on Point Marion promises to be tremendous.
i. Include multi-state efforts that result in coordinating location of tie-up facilities.
The Point Marion Recreation Committee has, during the initial planning phase, been in contact with boating interests in West Virginia. The Upper Monongahela River Association is a multi-state organization that seeks to coordinate and encourage facilities for boaters on the Monongahela River. Specifically, we have been in contact with Mr. Donald Strimbeck, Secretary of the Upper Monongahela River Association (304-599-7585). In addition to publicizing facilities available on the River, there is potential for developing a system of referrals in cases of "no vacancy" at one marina or the other. These two locations (Morgantown, West Virginia and Point Marion, Pennsylvania) are key points in the Monongahela River route, since they are the points in each state closest to the state line. Coordination between these two sites is essential. Recreation Committee member Dennis Groce spoke with Mr. Don Strimbeck on August 27, 2003. Mr. Strimbeck offered assistance in planning and coordination of the two dockages as they proceed. Mr. Groce also spoke with Patrick Donovan, the West Virginia Public Port Authority Riverfront Development Coordinator (304-558-0330), on August 28, 2003. Mr. Donovan confirmed to Mr. Groce that the Morgantown/Star City BIG application is approved and that construction of that project would begin before the next boating season.
Pledge of Financial Support for the Point Marion Marina, to be Constructed as a Public, Not for Profit Facility at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Boat Ramp in Point Marion, Pennsylvania
I understand that an application for federal grant money from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "Boating Infrastructure Grant" program is being submitted to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission on behalf of Point Marion Borough by the Borough Recreation Committee. This grant application would support the installation of a boat dock for transient boats near the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission boat ramp on the Monongahela River in Point Marion. The boat dock is intended to attract long distance recreational boaters traveling on the Monongahela River.
As a business person in Point Marion, I see value to the proposed boat docks for Point Marion as a whole, as well as my business. I understand that the grant application needs to show signs of local support and partnership with businesses. I therefore make the following pledge of support. In return for this pledge, my business will be recognized with permanent named acknowledgment of support at the boat docks as well as opportunities for advertising of my business services on informational kiosks at the docks.
Pledge of financial support (circle one): $100 $200 $400 $500
Pledge of other support (examples - discounts to dock users for business goods and services; specific equipment donation for dock equipment, restroom, or shower facilities; etc):
Signature: __________________________ Printed Name: _________________________
Name and address of business: