Reported by: Jenna Caiazzo For Pender County boaters, having to drive to Wrightsville Beach or Surf City for a free public boat ramp is a real pain. After much discussion over buying a boat ramp in Hampstead, Pender County boaters may finally be one step closer to getting what they want. Pender County boaters say the spot suggested along the Intercoastal waterway is a prime location for a free public boat ramp. Until then, boaters have to drive more than thirty minutes just to get their boat in the water. "You have to either, get in your car, trailer your boat, go over to surf city at the ramp over there, or go over to Wrightsville beach. You have to travel a distance. And there is no guarantee when you get there that the parking lots are going to be full, it just becomes a nightmare," said Dennis Hollingshead, who is an avid boater. Pender County officials met on Friday to go over the details of buying this existing boat ramp off Lewis Road in Hampstead. For commercial fisherman Tim Boyd, being able to get his boat in the water so close to home would save him having to fight the crowds at the other public ramps. "The boat ramps are so crowded most of the time that it's hard to get a boat in out most of the time." Not only is it a prime location for local boaters and fisherman, but with the struggling economy, many would benefit from a free boat ramp. Right now Pender County has a grant for $3.8 million to put toward the new acquisition, but the boat ramp and the surrounding land costs twice that. Now the county is looking to other agencies like wildlife to help foot the bill.
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