Water-Related News

Commentary: Clermont boat ramp relocation poses challenge

No matter what Clermont does about a boat ramp, somebody is going to be mad.

The first angry ones will be boaters who want to get onto the Clermont Chain of Lakes after Dec. 17 — that’s when the city is closing its only boat ramp on Lake Minneola to build a stormwater project to prevent lake pollution.

However, the city owns 2 1/2 miles of lakefront, so it ought to be easy to find a spot for another ramp, right? Oh, no, no, no. This project is destined to make lots of people unhappy before it’s over.

The city ditched its original plan to replace the ramp with one at the old Bell Ceramics property — City Council members thought it too close to the swimming area — in favor of moving it to the northern tip of the lake, where Clermont owns more than 220 acres at Lake Hiawatha Preserve.

“Neighbors went berserk,” City Manager Darren Gray said.

Well, at least they did when they finally learned of the ramp. By then, Clermont already had spent $75,000 to design the project and get permits. The city backed away. Ouch. That was a waste that could have been avoided by simply communicating with neighbors who live in the county.

The big problem, said resident Cindy Davis, was traffic on Lake Minneola Shores Road. Neighbors feared that traffic would back up to a roundabout at the entrance of the park.