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Town gets grant money to build Dan River boat launch / November 07, 2019
Paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts will soon have another local attraction to explore — the Greene’s Crossing Boat Landing on the Dan River in South Boston.

This week, the Town announced the award of an $876,000 grant by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Recreational Trails Program to construct the boat landing. The site will provide access to the Dan for motorized boats, kayaks and canoes on the Dan River Water Trail. The Dan is a designated scenic river and it will be promoted as part of the Southern Virginia Wild Blueway.

“This is exciting for downtown South Boston,” said Town Manager Tom Raab of the project, which will be built at the Watkins Bridge crossing in easy walking distance of downtown.

Along with providing another point of access to the Dan, the project also recognizes the history the 1781 Crossing of the Dan by General Nathanael Greene. The boat landing will be built on the opposite side of the bridge of the Crossing of the Dan park below The Prizery.

Preliminary engineering for the Greene’s Crossing Boat Landing should be complete by July with a proposed completion date in mid-2021.

The Recreational Trails Program is a federal matching reimbursement program for building and rehabilitating trails and trail-related facilities. Grant funds are funded by the Federal Highway Administration through the VDCR..

The Town of South Boston is responsible for a 20 percent match to qualify for the grant. Half of the required contribution will consist of in-kind spending. The rest of the money needed, $100,000, must be added to next year’s budget, according to Raab.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is requiring that mollusks found on the affected river bank be relocated, at an expected cost of $30,000. Raab said he is not sure what will stop the mollusk from returning, but they must be moved.

Raab extended thanks to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for its assistance in developing recreational and economic opportunities in Southside Virginia. He also thanked the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region’s RiverBank Fund Grant Program for a $50,000 grant to purchase one-half of the land where the landing is located.

At Town Council’s meeting on Monday night, Raab also offered thanks to the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation for generously donating the other half of the land for this landing, and he also singled out Tim Vest for praise for contacting the town office to urge them to apply for the money.

“Last week was a good week,” said Raab.

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