A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility will be held Saturday, April 7 at 10:30 a.m. at the foot of L Street, accompanied by much fanfare, including a show by Delta Jet Ski Action and jet ski racing all day.
According to Deputy Director of Community Development Ryan Graham, attendees are welcome to speak with the jet ski racers in the pits and learn more about the sport. A freestyle competition team will also be performing throughout the day. The opening is expected to attract a host of local dignitaries.
City officials are pleased that residents will soon be able to enjoy another avenue to the San Joaquin River. “I’m very excited,” Graham said. “It’s been a long time coming that we have a nice new facility that is large enough to hopefully provide for the entire city.”
While the boat ramp will not be open to the public on Saturday, it will be available for use starting Sunday. Graham also noted that this is only the first major completed phase of the boat launch’s construction. The city also plans to add restrooms and a third boat dock later on.
The new ramp cost roughly $4.3 million, but was paid for largely by grants from the California Department of Boating and Waterways.
When Antioch envisioned the new boat launch facility in 2010, plans included four launch lanes, restrooms, a bait shop, fish-cleaning facilities and a lighted walkway. Those ambitions were scaled back due to a lack of funding, but another grant from the state allowed workers to revert to the original plan.
Director of Capital Improvements Phil Harrington said in January that the restrooms and other amenities would be added to the property sometime in the middle of spring. Once the entire facility is completed, a $5 boat-launching fee will go into effect. Until then, residents can use the boat launch for free.
“The additional grant funding will allow the city to provide the type of quality amenities that users of the launch deserve and expect,” Harrington said after the additional grant was announced in January. “Recreation is a big part of what attracts people to Antioch, and this highly anticipated boat launch will not disappoint.”
This newest boat launch is Antioch’s second point-of-entry to the San Joaquin River. Currently, a free boat launch is located on Fulton Shipyard Road.
At one point, city leaders thought about closing the Fulton Shipyard ramp, citing crime and financial concerns, but decided to keep it open after residents rallied to its defense. At City Council meetings discussing the boat ramps, some residents told city leaders that the new facility isn’t the safest place to launch a boat.
The new boat launch, at the Antioch Marina, includes space for boats larger than 12 feet as well as a 129-space newly paved parking lot.