Of­fi­cials agree with res­i­dents on Cobb Is­land bridge de­sign

Op­pose wa­ter, pier ac­cess points with new bridge de­sign

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­news.com

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.

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