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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Twin Ridge upgrading facilities
Improvements to accommodate fishing tournaments
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Courtesy Photo: Twin Ridge will be the sight of a new facility for fishing tournaments on Philpott Lake.

Monday, October 31, 2011

By JOHNNY BUCK - Martinsville Bulletin

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a partnership agreement with five other groups Thursday to construct the Twin Ridge Tournament Facility on Philpott Lake in Franklin County.

The facility, designed for fishing tournaments, will feature a large mooring dock, a launch/retrieve dock, a picnic shelter and restroom facilities. Added parking will be located at the current Twin Ridge boat ramp off Church Knob Road in Franklin County, near the geographic center of the lake.

The project is expected to be completed by March 1, 2012.

Craig Rockwell, operations manager at Philpott Lake, said the project is "meant to facilitate tournaments, boaters and everyone else on the lake."

Current boat ramps at Philpott are not specifically designed to accommodate the numerous tournaments that occur on the lake. Such tournaments often feature dozens of boats, most of which return to the dock with live fish that need to be weighed in a timely manner, said Rockwell.

Congestion at a ramp during a tournament can make it difficult for anglers to get their boats in and out of the water quickly. The same congestion also may deter pleasure boaters who otherwise would head to the lake on a tournament date, according to Rockwell.

The new facility "will give (tournament anglers) the docks that they can moor while they're doing their weigh-in, which they don't have now," he said. "So currently, they're having to take their boats out of the water while they're trying to weigh in."

The project, which will have no impact on discussions concerning a fully operating marina on Philpott in Henry County, is expected to cost a little more than $200,000, Rockwell said. Of that, $50,000 will come from the Franklin County Parks and Recreation Department, one of the six partners in the facility. The remaining money will come from the corps' budget.

The corps has estimated the projects' cost to be $75,000 for both docks; $40,000 for the construction of two concrete bulkheads, which will anchor the docks; $40,000 for the picnic shelter; $40,000 for the bathroom facility; and $10,000 for the well and costs associated with preparation work.

Advising partners in the project include the BASS Federation of Virginia, United Henry Post 28210 VFW, Chapter 52 Martinsville DAV, and Anglers Choice Marine in Martinsville, a boat dealership.

The current ramp site has a double-lane ramp and a small "courtesy dock" that accommodates no more than three boats at a time. The site also has marked parking for 14 boat trailers and 10 cars.

The new project calls for a T-shaped mooring dock 140 feet in length that will extend 70 feet from the shore. The new launch/retrieve dock will extend from the center of the ramp into the water, and the parking area will be expanded to hold up to 80 vehicle-and-boat trailers, Rockwell said.

"This is going to be a great facility for Philpott Lake," he said. "It will make it much more convenient for everybody. It's one of those projects that's been a pleasure to work on because there's no negative. It's all been positive (response)."

Tournament anglers still will be able to launch and retrieve from any of the current ramps, though tournament weigh-ins typically will take place at Twin Ridge, Rockwell said.

"We have started doing some of the ground prep," he said. "The only part going to be built as the partnership are the docks themselves."

The rest of the construction, including the picnic shelter, toilets and parking spaces, will be funded with money from the corps, he added.

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