Island project will add new free boat ramp, the city's third

Nov. 20—The City of South Padre Island is surrounded by water, but getting on it isn't always easy.

City officials are working on the Island's third free boat ramp with a $600,000 project planned for the bay side at Laguna Boulevard and West Marlin Street.

There will be a paved parking lot with limited spaces, the boat ramp, a fish-cleaning station and new lighting at the site.

"We actually have multiple funding sources," said Kristina Boburka, the city's shoreline director. "The city was awarded a grant through the Restore Act two years ago, about two years ago.

"Through that grant we were awarded funding to purchase land and to help with the construction of the boat ramp in addition with matching funds," she added. "We have locally used matching funds, some Restore funds for land acquisition and construction, and we were actually awarded last year Texas Parks and Wildlife Department funding to help offset the cost of the engineering, design and permitting aspects."

Even limited parking at a boat ramp on the Island will be a big improvement. The other two free ramps have no parking, and that creates problems in a city where places to park are often at a premium.

"There are only going to be a few spaces ... but there will be dedicated parking at the boat ramp in addition to a fish-cleaning station, lighting of course will be there, and then educational signage is also part of our Restore grant," Boburka said.

Boburka said city officials this week received final designs from the engineering firm it hired and those are being reviewed. After approval by city departments, the city will hold public meetings about the proposed boat ramp and access point before it goes to the city council.

If all goes smoothly, construction should be completed by late spring or the middle of 2023, she said.

"We're going to add another amenity to our island, which is something the city is always looking to do, especially right now when we only have two free boat ramps," Boburka said. "It's going to alleviate the traffic off of those two ramps by adding another free launching site.

"Water sports are such a huge attraction to the island," she added. "This is really going to help improve and increase access to the lower Laguna Madre, which is such a unique ecosystem."