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Canoe launch opens at Rogers Bridge Park

Noel Gilliam and his wife DeAnna prepare to launch their kayak at Rogers Bridge Park, while daughter Mikayla, 3, plays in the water of the Chattahoochee River

Noel Gilliam and his wife DeAnna prepare to launch their kayak at Rogers Bridge Park, while daughter Mikayla, 3, plays in the water of the Chattahoochee River

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David Jones and his son Hayden, 2, sit along the riverbank at the new Rogers Bridge Park canoe launch, after Saturday’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

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With their daughter Mikayla, Noel and DeAnna Gilliam paddle up the Chattahoochee River at Rogers Bridge Park in Duluth.

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Patrons take part in tubing along the Chattahoochee River, as part of the new amenities offered at Rogers Bridge Park’s new canoe launch.

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Shiner, the mayor of Chattapoochie Dog Park at Roger’s Bridge Park, stands on the new canoe launch, after a ribbon cutting ceremony in Duluth Saturday.

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DULUTH — DeAnna Gilliam loves to kayak on the Chattahoochee with her family.

But last year, her toddler took a tumble on the banks of the river, an experience the tiny tot still remembers with dread.

That’s why Gilliam was so excited to find a new paved canoe launch at Rogers Bridge Park in Duluth, providing easier access to the water.

“This is wonderful,” Gilliam said, not long after city officials cut a ribbon on the new amenity. “It’s much nice, much more family friendly.”

Mayor Nancy Harris said the attraction is a benefit of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which paid for about $350,000 in costs, including an extensive permitting process because of the federal Chattahoochee River Protection Act.

“This will be a destination,” she said. “It is beautiful.”

According to the city’s parks and recreation director Kathy Marrelle, the city set a record in the efficiency of going through the permitting process in the two-year long process to open the canoe launch.

“This is a wonderful intergovernmental collaboration, where the public can explore one of our greatest natural assets, the Chattahoochee River,” Marrelle said, adding that a tubing company has signed a lease agreement with the city to offer services at the park.

On Saturday, the first 25 to sign up for tubing were free. “We hope you make a splash during this SPLOST celebration,” Marelle said.