Mathews County is a land of contradictions. On the one hand, it is tiny (its 86 square miles make it Virginia’s second smallest county), yet at the same time it contains an immense amount of waterfront, some 350 miles in all.
And, in another contradiction, even though Mathews has these hundreds of miles of waterfront property, many of its residents rarely get the opportunity to see the water, because all but a small part of that land is privately owned.
In 2004, the Mathews County Board of Supervisors recognized this, and committed a quarter of a million dollars to expand the public waterfront by purchasing the East River Boat Yard.
At the time that the purchase was announced, then-County Administrator Stephen K. Whiteway said that the land was bought to meet two major goals of the county board at that time—giving Mathews residents their own public fishing pier and providing a public shoreline access point for residents of the Mobjack peninsula.
Fast forward 12 years an...
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