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Progress on Newport pier

A Newport committee on Thursday unveiled a still-developing plan for a Mississippi River fishing pier at the end of Sixth Street that recommends the installation of a removable floating dock.

Newport City Council members OK'd the work plan submitted by the five-person Fishing Pier Committee that was formed in August to investigate improving the river access at Sixth Street, near Pioneer Park, with a public fishing pier.

The plan introduced Tuesday recommends an 8-foot-by-20-foot removable floating pier that the report says would eliminate a number of challenges facing the project, including:

* The need to obtain a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources permit to construct a permanent structure in the river;

* Eliminating the need to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements that would increase the cost of the project and the space needed;

* Improve the likelihood of the design gaining approval from the Army Corps of Engineers, towboat industry and the United States Coast Guard -- all included in one permit;

* And, the design would present the least amount of surface impact on the shoreline, helping preserve any historical artifacts present from the site's former use as a steamboat landing.

"It's the best design down at that location," said Newport City Administrator Brian Anderson.

The estimated cost of a floating, removable pier at the site is $9,200, according to the committee's report.

Mayor Tim Geraghty said during discussions regarding the pier that no city tax dollars would be used in the project that he proposed last spring. Costs would have to be covered through donations and grants from state or federal agencies.