Letter from Andy Reid

I am a civil engineer retiree (2018) who worked for the Norfolk District Army Corps of Engineers for 40 years. I spent most of that time on marine construction projects including dredging and bulkhead construction. My proudest achievement was acting as construction manager for the Virginia Beach boardwalk replacement project during the late 90’s. Lori and I have lived in Baycliff since 1993.

“It’s now or never” – Let’s make the boat ramp repairs before it’s too late.

Yes, Elvis was on to something when he crooned that memorable hit many years ago. The gist of that song was time is of the essence for important endeavors. For Elvis it was about love, for the Baycliff community, it’s about boat ramp repairs.

As most of you are aware Baycliff has a boat ramp facility at the entrance to the neighborhood. We are one of the few neighborhoods in Virginia Beach with its own boat ramp. The ramp provides world class boating access to the Lynnhaven River, the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. What you may not have known is the ramp bulkhead and pier are in pretty bad shape. The bulkhead and its associated tie-back system are failing, and the dock is dangerously worn. Both need to be replaced and the sooner the better as the condition will only worsen and, in time, may require us to shut it down. We are currently in the midst of a fund drive to raise the $50,000 needed to make these repairs. We have a reputable contractor, Colin Marine, committed to performing the work this year. But they’ll only stay committed if the work is performed relatively soon. To date we’ve raised around $12,000, so we need another $38,000. If we all pitched in a one-time contribution of two or three hundred dollars, we can make it happen.
For those of you who currently use the boat ramp, contributing to this effort should be a no brainer. The ramp provides safe and convenient launching for boats of all sizes. With the recently completed dredging project, the waterway (Mill Dam Creek) is easily navigable out to Broad Bay. Our ramp, while small in stature, is the perfect respite from the crowded, costly (up to $25 per day) and limited ramps found throughout the city. Another thing to consider for you Baycliff boaters who use the ramp is you don’t have the expense (bulkhead, pier and boat lift repairs and maintenance) associated with waterfront property. I just completed $65,000 in repairs to my boat dock. Ouch!

As for the non-boating community members, these improvements bring value to the neighborhood and likely increase all property values. While you might not be interested in boating now, that could change or perhaps mention it as a selling point for your home. Plus, the ramp facility is a nice place just to walk around and watch the world go by.

I spoke to a realtor friend of mine, Jennifer Cool, who provided the following comments:
“People often ask if community amenities add value to the properties that have the privilege to use such an improvement. Waterfront environmental restrictions for adding pools, docks, boat ramps and lifts are often difficult and costly for individual homeowners to tackle on their own. Area residents who do not live on the water see a huge benefit to living in a neighborhood with such an improvement. Neighborhoods within the Lynnhaven River watershed that have boat ramps for residents’ use are limited to few (Baycliff, Lynnhaven Colony and Bay Island). When home buyers are searching for a new home and boating is a priority, searching in neighborhoods with such amenities is a huge bonus and will make homes in those areas more valuable. Yet value is only created if kept in good, usable condition. As a local realtor who also loves being on the water, stopping by the neighborhood boat ramp is part of our tour. It is a critical part of a buyers decision making and will often make a home with amenity more desirable. Beyond the function of a usable boat ramp, having green space is also important for the resale value of a neighborhood. Those moving in often ask about the community feel and if a neighborhood Civic League hosts events that are community centered. A home is created by more than four walls of a house or the four corners of your yard. A home is a community around you and the quality of life that is created by being there. “

In closing, we can’t afford to kick the can down the road on this. Material and labor prices will continue to rise as we all know. Plus, these repairs are currently permitted under the auspices of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, but that could change. The agencies (the city, the state and the feds) could make it a lot more difficult in the future. I know these are difficult financial times, but it would be sad to let this facility fall into further disrepair and possible closure because we didn’t have the fortitude to make it happen. It’s now or never.

Andy Reid