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Vienna’s Mayor Rapp announces kayak launch at Spencer’s Landing

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp said the kayak launch at Spencer’s Park will be the SHOCO Inc. system he saw at Shelby, N.C. Funds for the new launch and improvements for a launch at Williamstown and resurfacing of Waverly Road to the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge were approved by the Federal Lands Access Program. (Photo Provided)

VIENNA — A major project for Spencer’s Landing in Vienna has been approved through the Federal Lands Access Program, officials said.

Planned in Vienna is a new kayak launch at Spencer’s Park near the Gold Star Families Monument on the Ohio River. The project cost is $350,000.

The city has a 20 percent local match in the project, said Mayor Randy Rapp.

Rapp is enthusiastic about the project, which he said will lead to development of other amenities at the park including a walking trail.

“We’d like to get it done this summer,” he said.

A new kayak launch will be under construction later this year at Spencer’s Park in Vienna near the Gold Star Family Monument on the Ohio River. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

The project involves the development of a road, parking and the kayak launch at Spencer’s Landing in Vienna, according to a release from the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge in Williamstown. The intent of the Federal Lands Access Program is to encourage citizens to discover the natural treasures that can be discovered on their lands and engage in healthy physical exercise.

Also approved were a project at Williamstown and paving Waverly Road from Highland Avenue to the wildlife refuge visitors center.

The installation of a kayak launch at the boat ramp in Williamstown will address congestion there that has led to unsafe conditions for kayakers using the motor boat ramp, the refuge said. The new kayak launch will be placed a safe distance from the ramp. The project cost is $51,000.

The cost to resurface and improve Waverly Road is $630,000.

The wildlife refuge, the Division of Highways and the cities of Williamstown and Vienna submitted proposals for funding of three projects in September 2020. The Greater Parkersburg Convention Visitors Bureau assisted.

The kayak launches will help paddlers engaged in healthy recreational activities and support those inclined to complete the Ohio River Islands NWR Kayak Challenge, the release said.

Construction on all three projects is expected to be underway this summer.

Rapp called the launch a “keystone” in the development of the area of the park.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” Rapp said.

Rapp was in Shelby, N.C., where he saw the same version of the docks by SHOCO Inc. planned in Vienna. The docks are modular and can be easily removed in the winter months, Rapp said.

“You can make it as big as you want or as small as you want,” he said.

Jess Mancini can be reached at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com.

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