Ribbon cutting celebrates completion of new boat ramp in Old Shawneetown

A ribbon cutting ceremony celebrated the completion of the Old Shawneetown Ohio Boat Ramp.
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 2:45 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2023 at 9:04 PM CDT
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GALLATIN COUNTY, Ill. (KFVS) - A ribbon cutting ceremony celebrated the completion of the Old Shawneetown Ohio Boat Ramp.

The ribbon cutting ceremony took place Saturday, September 30 at 11 a.m. at the new boat ramp.

An emergency rescue boat was also launched during the ceremony.

Illinois State Senator Dale Fowler said a lot of hard work went into revamping the boat ramp, and the work was worth it.

“It’s a process, but we finally got here so this is a great celebration for southern Illinois,” said State Sen. Fowler.

Gallatin County Emergency Management Director Steve Gault said the new boat ramp is vital to public safety.

“...It’s only fitting that the first boat launched is our emergency rescue boat considering it’s been 15 years since we’ve had river access from the Illinois side,” he continued. “This new ramp will ensure faster response times and could save lives as we now have immediate access to river emergencies versus before we had a 35-40 minute drive to launch any sort of water response call.”

According to a release from Fowler’s office, local leaders and project stakeholders broke ground for the boat ramp earlier this summer. Construction started on June 20.

Crews raised a portion of the lower ramp and parking area, finished a new boat access ramp, places two jetties into the river to divert siltation and replaced nearly 2,000-square-feet of parking lot and rip rap along the area.

“The completion of this project is huge for Gallatin County and the surrounding area, and I want to thank everyone who played a role in seeing this project through,” Fowler said in the release. “Between state, federal and local agencies, it was all-hands-on-deck to get the residents of this area the new boat ramp they deserve for both public safety and recreational purposes.”

The project was made possible by an $800,000 grant through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The next plans for Old Shawneetown is to revitalize the port near the new boat ramp.