CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State officials are working on plans to install a boat dock in front of the state Capitol.
The goal is to give boaters easy access to the Capitol grounds from the Kanawha River.
Corporate donors will pay for construction of the dock itself. But the state will pay to build a ramp to make the dock handicap accessible.
Estimates for that ramp project are as high as $400,000, according to Gov. Joe Manchin's office.
"The governor is very much supportive of the dock," said Manchin spokesman Melvin Smith. "He feels the project is long overdue. With us having one of the best Capitol campuses in the nation, this gives us an opportunity to open a new venue for tourists and riverboat travelers to access the grounds."
Smith said donors to the dock project include American Electric Power CEO Mike Morris and Charlie Jones and the late Nelson Jones, of Amherst Madison, a marine transportation and repair company.
A staff architect from the state Department of Administration said a low dock would "be consistent" with architect Cass Gilbert's original vision for the Capitol, which was finished in 1932, department spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown said. At the time, river travel was a primary means of transportation.
Now the boat dock project is meant to make the Capitol accessible from the river, Smith said.
"It's going to provide an opportunity for people during events like FestivALL, for example, and other events that take place during the year, to use this location," he said.
Smith said there would be no overnight docking.
The boat dock will be in the Kanawha River just across Kanawha Boulevard from the Capitol's south side, which features the statue of President Lincoln.
Across Kanawha Boulevard from the south side of the Capitol now is a small plaza that has two opposing stairways that lead down to a landing midway down the riverbank. Beneath the landing is a broad stairway that leads into the river.