Officials agree with residents on Cobb Island bridge design
Oppose water, pier access points with new bridge design
The residents living in Cobb Island have had input all the way through the process on their new bridge. Between communication with the Charles County Board of Commissioners, the State Highway Administration and the state’s Department of Natural Resources, citizens have had their talking points reach high places.
Last month, after the idea of a kayak launch and fishing pier to go along with the bridge were floated out into the ether, citizens made their opposition clear on both points.
During Tuesday’s commissioners meetings, the board made clear that they heard their opposition loud and clear. The commissioners moved to send a letter of support to the state in support of the bridge, but encouraged them to look for other locations for water ac- cess and recreation.
Eileen Minnick, the county’s director of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism, said citizens’ responses at the county’s public hearing and the comments submitted after the hearing showed a clear opposi- tion to the ideas.
“There was very, very little support for any public enhancements if the commissioners chose to go that direction,” Minnick said.
During the end of the public hearing and at the commission- ers meeting, Charles County Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) made the proposal that the commissioners send a letter to the state requesting “nothing more than passive landscaping for the area adjacent to the new Cobb Island bridge.”
Robinson made the motion for the commissioners to write a letter to both the Department of Natural Resources and the State Highway Administration showing their support for nothing more than a new bridge and landscaping.
In the letter, he said, it will state that the suggestions will have been made “based on community input,” he said.
Previously, residents shared their concerns about what a new fishing pier and kayak launch would do for the com- munity. Bob Rice, an island resident and the owner of a restaurant and a store on the island side of the bridge, said many people who would use the pier and the kayak launch would not actually live in Cobb Island.
There is nothing wrong with out of town visitors, he said, but too often residents have to pick up trash and clean underneath the bridge because visitors from out of town will leave their waste there.
”We’ll have to pick up after them most times underneath the current bridge,” Rice said. “The community just doesn’t want to see this.”
Commissioners’ President Peter Murphy (D) said that based on state law, many bridges are required to have some type of water access points along with them. However, he said, it does not necessarily have to be in the form of a pier or a kayak launch.
”I just want to compliment the people that came out to the public hearing that came out and not only expressed their opinion, but also gave us some suggestions,” he said.
Because of that, Murphy said, the commissioners are suggesting that the state look for other locations for water access in Charles County to provide those specific amenities.