Debris has been piling up this week at one of the small docks on the Oostanaula River near Ridge Ferry Park. The city has at least temporarily shelved plans to replace the big dock at the Town Green because it will be too expensive to put it in a manner that will not similarly catch debris. (Doug Walker, RN-T)

"It was going to require some techniques of installation that were very expensive," said Rome Public Service Director Kirk Milam. The projected budget for the project was in excess of $150,000. That was installation alone since the dock itself has been dry-docked for close to two years.

“For the time being we have shelved those plans," Milam said. "It was all going to be done from the water. Everything has to be on a barge. We're talking about piles having to be driven and it all has to be done from the river."

The dock was pulled out of the water after it caught and backed up an island of debris and trash that floats down the river virtually every time the river comes up. Part of the problem was that the dock was located at the Town Green, which is on the same side of the river as the primary channel, where most of the debris coming down river will be flowing.

"This is probably one of the most harsh and difficult environments you could design for," said City Manager Sammy Rich. "You can have such wild swings in the river elevation."

Rich said that he hasn't ruled out the possibility of moving the dock to the other side of the river, out of the main channel, as part of a project to use two acres of property next to the Courtyard by Marriott.

"I do think as we continue to see growth of outdoor recreation, specifically on the rivers, I do think we need a dock somewhere in that general area for people who are downtown and want to be on the rivers."

Milam said there was no way to prevent the debris from coming down the river.

"That problem is on every river system in the county," Milam said. "The key to the redesign was trying to get it out of the channel that was most likely to catch the debris. Bridges are vulnerable, as are docks, any other facility you've got out in the river."