Tuckasee King Landing could be holding bass tournaments as part of the state’s Go Fish Georgia program within 18 months, and maybe even sooner.
Effingham County commissioners approved an agreement with the state to take part in the Go Fish program. The total cost to bring Tuckasee King up to par to hold a tier 2 bass tournament is estimated to be about $223,000. The state will provide half the money needed for the improvements, which include new restrooms, paving for parking, a new pavilion and installation of a floating dock.
Commissioners approved an intergovernmental agreement and a lease agreement with the state in a special called meeting Thursday. The meeting was necessary because the intergovernmental agreement has to be signed by the county by June 1.
“I think it’s great for the county,” Effingham County Recreation and Parks Director Clarence Morgan said. “What we’re getting for our dollars is just outstanding. It will be the only first-class boat ramp the county owns on the Savannah River. I’m delighted we’re getting something like this.”
As part of its end, the county has to put up a 50 percent match and have the work completed within 18 months. The county’s share of the match can include in-kind services. The maintenance and operations of the boat ramps will be the sole responsibility of the county.
Earlier this month, Gov. Sonny Perdue announced eight additional Go Fish Georgia sites, three of them on the Savannah River.
“The Savannah River was a targeted area,” administrative assistant Adam Kobek said.
Under the terms of the deal, the county has an opt-out clause and if it decides to sell the land, it must pay back to the state a pro-rated share of the state’s contribution.
The lease — the county will own the land and the state will lease it from the county — won’t take effect until the final plans for the improvements are done. The state Department of Natural Resources drew up plans for improvements at Tuckasee King in 1999 and the county made minor changes, Kobek said.
“We had planned on some improvements anyway,” Morgan said.
Two boat ramps will be added, and the floating dock will be extended for more capacity. The paving will allow for 50 parking spaces and there could be more unpaved spots available.
“If we end up with 75 parking spots, we’ll be in good shape,” interim County Administrator David Crawley said.
A tier 2 tournament is a smaller event. Tuckasee King used to hold tournaments frequently, but its use by angler associations has dropped. Marketing the site to fishing groups and associations is up to the county.
“Once they see the improvements, they’ll come back,” Morgan said. “Tuckasee King was used a lot until the last couple of years. I think this will bring back a lot of those tournaments.”
With the improvements, the landing could accommodate from 50 to 100 boats, according to Morgan.
“We can handle that now, where we’ve had a hard time in the past,” he said.
Morgan said one of his goals with the recreation department is to offer resources for activities beyond ball games.
“In most people’s eyes, in rec, all they see is ball, ball, ball,” he said.
He also praised the work of the county and state officials in making it happen.
“Adam and David and the commissioners have been super supportive,” he said, “and without (state Rep.) Jon Burns, this wouldn’t have happened.”