HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Experts are going to be brought in to help the city of Huntington find something to put in place of a planned Harris Riverfront Park marina that has since become abandoned.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams announced Monday night the city is abandoning the idea to build a marina at Harris Riverfront Park, but they are looking for other options to be put in its place.

“Efforts to build the marina must stop,” Mayor Williams said Monday night.

This started as a way to house the city’s police and fire and rescue boats. However, the city has had challenges in the past with river debris, going as far as to build a diverter to try and keep trash and other debris away from the boat houses.

They have not been able to fix these issues. 

However, this isn’t the only issue, it would have also been an expensive project. Williams said it would cost “$14 to $15 million for the full-blown marina, even if we started doing it in phases.”

Williams goes on to say that they believe it would not be beneficial for the city to move forward with a project like this.

As for the emergency river vessels, through a partnership with the owners of Adams Landing at the Guyandotte marina, all boats will be moored at that location for now.

Now, they’re looking at other development opportunities but first, they must know what can be done within their budget.

While the marina is not happening, the city is not abandoning the vision to make sure they bring in development along the Ohio River.

One of the ideas is to offer opportunities for recreation, including water sports.

Williams explains that all the city has right now is the ability to “observe the beautiful view of the river,” but there’s nothing that’s encouraging water sports at this time.

He said that moving forward it only makes sense to have a feasibility study to identify what would work for their city.

This study includes research into economic opportunities at Harris Riverfront Park and Adam’s Landing in Guyandotte to make sure that the “rising tide lifts all ships.”

The city received three bids for companies to conduct the study. The firm that the mayor’s office is recommending is Stantec, the same engineering company that has been involved in the recent Hal Greer Boulevard redesign.

The cost for the study will be around $450,000 and will be funded using the city’s capital outlay for other improvements.

The study will not just include recommendations for types of events and projects that the city can take on but will also identify where to get funding for them.

Huntington City Council approved this plan Monday night.

The feasibility study is expected to be completed in six to eight months. After that, the city will reevaluate the company’s recommendations and determine a development plan.