WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Interior announced Wednesday that it will provide more than $1 million towards construction of a North Little Rock marina for recreational boaters.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Interior announced Wednesday that it will provide more than $1 million towards construction of a North Little Rock marina for recreational boaters.

The project was among nearly a dozen in 10 states that DOI awarded “boating infrastructure grants” to support recreational boating.

“These competitive grants will help provide quality opportunities and access to America’s great outdoors for our nation’s boaters and anglers, while creating jobs by funding major construction projects to build docks, boat slips and facilities,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The $1,028,425 grant will cover nearly two-thirds of the $1.6 million cost of building 25 slips and fuel services for recreational boaters at Rockwater Marina along the Arkansas River in North Little Rock. The slips would be available for transient ships, those staying 10 days or less, rather than long-term moorings.

“This definitely is a significant step. With that (grant) the remainder of the funding is secured,” said Scott Fitzpatrick, president of MariCorp US, a Missouri-based dock manufacturer.

Fitzpatrick said construction of the slips would likely get underway in the spring.

Lisa Ferrell, co-owner of Rockwater Marina, said the grant “is crucial” for construction of the second phase of the project.

“Not only will the grant meet the needs of boaters but it will also provide a beautiful riverfront focal point for all of the development in the area,” she said.

When completed, the marina will have 136 slips with 32 available for short-term mooring. It is being built next to a 266-unit multi-family development along the Arkansas River, she said.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is partnering with LAD, LLC, MariCorp U.S., LLC, the city of North Little Rock, the North Little Rock Visitors Bureau and the Arkansas Department of Health on the marina project.

Funding for the Boating Infrastructure Grant program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, formerly known as the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, which boaters and manufacturers support through excise and other taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and boat fuel.