Port Deposit has added a path to walk along the Susquehanna River, a pier for fishing and bird watching, and a spot for launching boats into the waterway to its already scenic amenities.
The Cecil County town that traces its founding to the early 19th century will dedicate the $2.3 million Marina Park Riverwalk and Jetty at the south end of Main Street at 10 a.m. Thursday.
The project, which has been a decade in the planning, should draw boaters and anglers from the river and motorists traveling along Interstate 95 to the town of 700, officials said.
"It's an exquisite walk that starts through a row of trees and goes past historic features and leads to some of the best fishing around," said Councilman John Kilsavage. "We expect thousands will come here to walk the jetty and look at the beauty of nature. I guess you could call it a cement boardwalk."
Havre de Grace has attracted more tourists since opening its promenade along the river, officials said.
In Port Deposit, the 930- foot trail ends at a 25-foot-wide concrete jetty with three sections that extend for 350 feet into the river.
"You will see ducks, geese, egrets and some really large turtles," Kilsavage said. "You also can look down the river to the bridges."
At the end of the jetty, a gangway leads to a floating dock for the water taxi service the town hopes to initiate as a connector to other public parks along the river, such as Swan Harbor Farm near Havre de Grace. Another river park is under way in Perryville, at the mouth of the Susquehanna directly across the river from Havre de Grace.
"This is the second transit pier, and it is all part of the Greenway Project that will allow boaters to dock and visit the small towns along the river," said Mary Ann Lisanti, executive director of the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway and a Harford County Council member. "Tourists will have places to stop, shop and dine."
The organization is working to establish a heritage trail network along the Susquehanna River in Harford and Cecil counties. It received an $80,000 federal grant last fall to help create a plan that includes biking and hiking trails along improved roads, better shoreline access for anglers, and signs highlighting the culture, history, and environmental aspects of the area, Lisanti said.
Port Deposit also plans to build an Armed Forces Memorial Plaza near the riverwalk in a 6,000-square-foot area that will include benches and bike racks.
At the dedication, which is expected to draw state and local officials, Kilsavage will have "before" photos that show moss-covered rocks, the remnants of a jetty built by the Navy more than 60 years ago. Sailors trained there, and the new project has salvaged and remounted two davits, the crane-like equipment the Navy used to raise and lower boats and cargo.
"This project is really a renovation with history to it," Kilsavage said. "The Navy's jetty is our foundation."