WARNER'S BAYOU -- An osprey hovered above and waves lapped gently against new docks Wednesday as county officials reopened a popular boat ramp at Warner's Bayou following a seven-month re-do.
"It's great," said boater James Engelder, 53, of Bradenton, as he backed his craft onto the new ramp at 5900 Riverview Blvd.
"It just looks like a nice ramp, and you can hang on the dock a few minutes," said Engelder, who was at the Bradenton boat ramp with a restored 1961 Chris-Craft.
"I'm testing it out," he said of the gleaming craft that attracted the attention of a group of county officials who had arrived to celebrate the ramp's reopening.
The renovation cost about $750,000, more than predicted at its January start, due to the collapse of a seawall during the project, said Alan Lai Hipp, environmental program manager for marine resources at the Manatee County Natural Resources Department.
The project was paid for with funds from the West Coast Inland Navigation District and a grant from the Florida Boater Improvement Trust Fund, which administers boater regis
tration funds, said Charlie Hunsicker, county director of natural resources.
It's the third boat ramp re-do the county has completed with several more to go, he said.
Warner's Bayou, a Braden River boat ramp, and the Highland Shores boat ram have already been redone; future projects are planned for North Coquina Beach, Kingfish, and Palma Sola Causeway, Hunsicker said.
Warner's Bayou reopened in time to handle Fourth of July partiers.
County Commissioner John Chappie was complimentary about the renovated facility, noting the new bathrooms, fish tables with running water, new ramps, new seawall and parking lot improvements.
"You are to be congratulated," he told county workers.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.