Improvements to the White City boat ramp appear a bit closer, but they are currently in the hands of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


The county has received the required permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.


The public comment on the Corps permit expired last month.


All that is left is the issuance of the Corps permit.


The county has long sought improvements to the basin and ramp, especially to bring the ramp into American Disabilities Act compliant.


The proposed improvements would include removal of 2,237 square feet of existing dock, including two timber docks and bollards on the eastern side of the basin and existing stairs on the western side of the basin.


Those would be replaced by fixed timber and floating docks, ADA aluminum ramps to allow access to floating docks on either side of the basin.


According to the application summary from the Corps, pilings would be driven and jetted for installation of the floating docks and a timber dock.


In total, an additional 771 square feet of docks and gangways would be constructed at the basin.


The existing sea wall on the eastern side of the basin would be removed and graded back and armored with rip rap.


In its application summary, the Corps detailed that the project would likely have a minor to no adverse impacts on endangered species such as the West Indian manatee provided specific conditions are met for in-water work.


In addition, fish habitat was not likely to be adversely impacted.


And due to the existing and extensive work done over the years at the facility, there is little likelihood of impacts to cultural resources.


"The decision whether to issue or deny this permit application will be based on the information received from this coordination (public comment) and the evaluation of the probable impact to associated wetlands. This is based on an analysis of the applicant’s avoidance and minimization efforts for the project, as well as any compensatory mitigation," wrote Lisa Lovvorn, project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Panama City office.


The county has pursued improvements at the ramp and basin area since a large barge collided with the dock six years or so ago.


The sea wall has also been in less than stable condition for years.


The boat ramp is among the most popular in the county, hosting a series of bass tournaments each year.