The "Bell" site. City owned property on the southeast corner of Lake Minneola and site of the new boat ramp

For close to a year, the ongoing saga of where to place the city’s boat ramp has been a dilemma faced by Clermont City Council.  The city’s Master Plan indicated that a new boat ramp would be built at the east end of Waterfront Park (formally known as the “Bell” site) to clear the way for Victory Pointe, a stormwater treatment project. Plans changed, and the site of the proposed ramp moved to the Hiawatha Preserve. Once it was determined that placing the ramp in the Preserve was not a good idea, the question was raised, where should the boat ramp be placed?

The controversial piece of unfinished business was, once again, placed on the council’s agenda. Two boat ramp concepts were considered by council members (1) the boat ramp would remain at its present location or (2) a new boat ramp would be built at the “Bell” site.

Mayor Gail Ash skillfully facilitated the meeting and; after the council listened to the comments of many concerned attendees, voted 4-1 to approve the construction of a new boat ramp at the “Bell” site.  Councilmember Heidi Brishke voted, No.

The plan includes a boat ramp and about 77 parking spaces with additional land for overflow parking or future, compatible projects.  The approved boat-ramp plan is estimated to cost about $1.5 million and will take about two years to finish. The current boat ramp will remain operational until the new ramp is completed.

In addition to building the new boat ramp, the city plans to reroute the South Lake Trail so that pedestrians and cyclists will cross East Avenue at the four-way stop at the intersection of Grand Highway, considered a safer path than the current location further north.