LeClaire city leaders reassure boaters riverfront improvement plan will include a boat ramp

LECLAIRE, Iowa -- A riverfront improvement plan in LeClaire has raised complaints from residents who say they are concerned about what the city will do with its downtown boat ramp.

City leaders say it's all just a misunderstanding. LeClaire city council voted 4-0 Monday night to approve an application for a Federal "BUILD" Grant that outraged several boaters because the plan appeared to call for changing the boat ramp into a parking lot and green space.

"We want to keep the ramp," said City Council Member Dennis Gerard. "But, is there a possibility of moving and improving the ramp?"

He said the planners were thinking somewhere up or down the Mississippi River. Some residents voiced concerns that the ramp would be crammed under the I-80 bridge in LeClaire, but city leaders say that was just one of several suggestions, and that nothing has been finalized yet.

"What we know for sure is that LeClaire is a river town. And boating is a big part of what we do," said Gerard. "And a boat ramp is going to be part of the plan at some point," he said.

If LeClaire's grant application is selected, he said the city could win between 15 and 20 million dollars for economic investments on the riverfront, including improvements to Freedom Rock on the levee's south end and a boardwalk to attract more boaters.

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