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Friday, January 27, 2023

Marion County commissioners approve grant agreement for Heagy Burry Park improvements

Marion County commissioners have unanimously approved a grant agreement with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for improvements to the Heagy Burry Park and Boat Ramp.

The approval came during the Marion County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting on Tuesday.

Heagy Burry Park and Boat Ramp (5040 NW 191st Place in Reddick) offers the only public-use boat ramp that provides access to Orange Lake during the majority of low-water conditions.

According to county staff, the park has an estimated $2 million economic impact each year based on information provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Under the approved agreement, FWC will compensate Marion County for $969,264 or 53.1% of the total project cost, whichever is less. The county would be responsible for any remaining project costs.

The following major improvements are planned for the park:

  • The existing single-lane boat ramp will be replaced with a double-lane ramp with an extended approach. This improvement will make the ramp more user-friendly and allow for better traffic flow and easier boat launching for park visitors.
  • The parking lot will be paved. The parking area at the park is currently unpaved, and this improvement will make parking easier and more accessible.
  • The addition of a retaining wall at the park will help provide stabilization of park facilities and help preserve the park from wear and tear due to exposure to the elements.

These improvements are expected to increase boating access and accessibility to Orange Lake in Marion County. County staff feels that the improvements will enhance the local community by providing a premier venue for outdoor recreation, sport fishing, and tournaments.