NASHUA — Construction of a new boat ramp facility at Greeley Park, designed to provide better access to the Merrimack River, could begin in a few months.

“The (existing) ramp is in pretty rough condition. It is very difficult to get a boat in and out,” said Sarah Marchant, Nashua’s community development director.

Last week, an aldermanic committee recommended approval of the preliminary design and construction of the new boat ramp.

“It is one of the few public access sites on the Merrimack River,” said Marchant, explaining the ramp is an important access point for both recreational enthusiasts and emergency crews.

The city has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which includes a 50 percent matching contribution from the city to assist with the project.

The Bedford firm of Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. had previously been hired to design the boat ramp.

“The proposed site has a new access road alignment,” Kevin Gagne, an engineer with Stantec Consulting, told the aldermanic Infrastructure Committee last week.

Although the boat ramp is situated on a 32-acre site, the project will encompass less than an acre of space, Gagne said.

The new boat ramp will be fully accessible, include 24 abutting parking spaces and have a new layout with one-way circulation around the parcel to provide easy access for vehicles towing trailers, Gagne said.

The old trail leading to the boat ramp will be gated off but continue to be maintained. Several feet of the existing roadway will be revegetated to provide a wooded walking trail.

Marchant said the boat ramp area will not include lighting and users will be required to follow curfew guidelines already implemented at Greeley Park. In addition, boulders will be set up to prevent motorists and all-terrain vehicles from entering the wooded area near the boat ramp.

Both the full Board of Aldermen and the city’s Planning Board must approve the design and construction of the project.

“This has more steps before it is done,” said Marchant, who is hoping the project will be put out to bid over the winter, with construction beginning next summer.

Francis Murphy, a member of the Friends of Greeley Park, said he is excited about the project and believes it will encourage residents’ use of the river while providing watchdogs to protect the natural resource.

“I am very much in favor of the boat ramp,” he added.

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