Kelly Bostian: Road to 2013 Bassmaster Classic still a bit rough
BY KELLY BOSTIAN Outdoors
Thursday, November 15, 2012
12/27/12 at 1:46 PM
Go to Kelly Bostian's blog Original Print Headline: Ramping up to 2013 Bassmaster
Not only do fishing fans need to pray for mild weather for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake O' The Cherokees, they also need to hope for a mild winter for the construction season leading up to the event.
Construction on Wolf Creek Park, the old 16th Street Boat Ramp at Grove that is to be upgraded to host the launch of Bass Fishing's premier event begins today, just 100 days before the event set for Feb. 22-24 at Grand Lake and Tulsa.
"Oklahoma weather is obviously unpredictable and we would have liked to have had more of what you would call construction season weather," said Tim McCrary, vice president of the project contractors Rose and McCrary P.C. "We could be at the mercy of Mother Nature."
McCrary said the last couple of winters have been mild and allowed for long construction seasons, and this winter seems to be shaping up similarly to allow for things like pouring concrete in temperatures above the freezing mark. "We will have days, in stretches, where we will be able to put things in place," he said.
Crossland Heavy Contractors of Columbus, Kan., planned to break ground for drainage and parking area work this week, McCrary said after a Tuesday strategy meeting with Grove city planners. "They realize it needs to be done quickly as well, so they're ready to get started," McCrary said.
The Grand River Dam Authority will supervise building the boat ramps. The dock construction contract will open to bid later this month.
"Everything sounds like it has been green-lighted," said Grand Lake Association Executive Director Tad Jones. Members of the Local Organizing Committee were to walk the grounds for a planning session Thursday, and an official groundbreaking is set for Friday, he said.
Choosing a launch site for the tournament on Grand was tricky because the premier fishing tournament lake has docks to accommodate boats, but not so much the traffic and the spectators. Spectators for the morning launches often number in the thousands.
A long search process and commitment from the City of Grove to build at Wolf Creek led to selection of the site and announcement in June of plans to acquire 20 acres adjacent to the old city ramp. The plan is for parking to accommodate more than 400 trucks and boat trailers, multiple docks, six boat ramps, pavilions and recreation space.
The parking area and six ramps will be ready in February, Jones said. Construction on a maintenance and office building with restrooms may also begin. Status of the docks is somewhat in question with the job yet to go out to bid, but temporary docks can be used if there are issues, he said. "There will be docks to hold the 50-some boats," he said. "They can bring those in and anchor those or do whatever they have to do."
Jones said he knows people are wondering about the project. "I know everybody's anxious," he said. "I had an angler ask me about it today."
Perspective on the project's hurdles helps.
"It's amazing that it was faster in the 1930s to get permits to build the dam than what it takes to build a ramp today," he said. "When we talked to ODOT in June they said this was a two-year project, so for us to be breaking ground in six months is pretty good."
Jones said local, state and federal agencies have worked together to expedite the project. "To their credit, the federal agencies and everybody came together to make it happen," he said. "It's starting to come together, and hopefully we'll have a mild winter to do the construction."