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Friday, June 18th, 2010

East Bank Marina needs lessee to operate

By Janie Southard

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is looking for a new tenant for its Eas. . .

ST. MARYS - Anyone in the market to run a marina may visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources park office and check out the possibilities at the now-closed East Bank Marina.
Built by the state for the state in the late 1960s, the marina is still leased through the state. It's available again, according to Brian Miller, assistant manager at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park.
"Dan (Manning, former marina lessee) wanted out of his lease last April due to several things, but mostly the downturn in boating and tourists over the past couple years. That was because of water quality issues and the economy," Miller told the newspaper this week.
There's been some interest in running the marina since, but no one has followed up with the state-required paperwork.
"We'd definitely like to rent it out again," he said.
Those requirements include financial statements, business plans and experience, among others. Payments to the state are a percentage of the annual gross income, which Miller said could be negotiated to some extent.
"In 2009 the state received payment of $11,500, in 2008 it was $29,000 and in 2007 the payment was $39,000. ... But you have to figure that in 2007 the state was getting a percentage of all marina transactions. The other two years the percentage was based on boat rentals, dock fees and gasoline. Quite a difference, but the economy didn't help," he said.
Back in the day, the early day, the marina was hopping with boating supplies, concession area and a full kitchen was available. However the foot traffic slowed as the visitors lessened, Miller observed.
In recent years there were seven marinas around the lake, now there are five with Ohio Marina and the state marina closed.
"A big loss to boaters is the loss of the marina's restroom facilities. The closest now is at the first shelter house (at East Bank Park). We are maintaining the boat pump station because it's the only one on the lake," Miller said.
Other conveniences missing from the state park are liter barrels as the state transitions to a "carry in/carry out" system. One reason is public abuse.
"In past years, we've emptied the trash receptacles and within a couple days they were full of household litter, which is illegal, by the way. So far, we haven't observed a big increase in ground litter. I'd say over the next two years it will be required that if you carry it in you must carry it out," he said. Litter containers are still available at the shelter houses and campgrounds.
The campgrounds is doing well this season, with the best attendance ever on Memorial Day weekend, he said. All the park facilities - beaches, picnic areas and shelter houses - attracted a crowd that weekend.
"Since then, Mother Nature has been the enemy," he commented. "But the summer's just begun."
Additional online story on this date
Too much rain has put a damper on the growing season for some Mercer County farmers, especially those in the northern part of the county, local ag officials said. [More]
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