Makeover to begin at Seneca Marina

April 3, 2012

(Rick Stillion of The Cambridge Daily Jeffersonian sat down for an update on the Seneca Marina operation for the 2012 boating season with new Marina Manager Dan Patrino and Seneca Lake Park Manager Joe McGlothlin. The MWCD took over the operation of the marina at the start of 2012. This story was published in The Daily Jeffersonian on April 2, 2012).

By RICK STILLION

SENECAVILLE -- The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) took possession of Seneca Lake Marina on Jan. 1 and will operate the popular lake-front business for the foreseeable future.

Previously, the park leased the property to a private company to own and operate the marina, docks and rental boats.

"We have folded the marina into the park's operation," said Joe McGlothlin, Seneca Lake Park manager. "We area really excited about this opportunity. Operating the marina will offer us a number of advantages, especially with one of our campgrounds close by."

As a result, the MWCD hired Dan Patrino as Seneca Marina manager on March 19 to oversee the day-to-day operations at the marina.

"We are excited to get a guy like Dan as our marina manager," said McGlothlin. "His career to this point has been built on service excellence and development. It is our expectation that his skills will take our customer service to a whole new level.

"A big goal for us is to be receptive to the customer's needs and wants, as well as open to their suggestions. We are in this together. It's not our marina as the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, it's ours as the Seneca Lake community. We are excited to see our family grow."

Patrino brings with him 18 years in the parks and recreation service industry.

"I have always excelled at offering a high level of customer service," said Patrino, who previously worked at indoor and outdoor water parks, community centers, historical sites, reservation facilities and parks in Dublin, Westerville and Cuyahoga Falls.

"I have had an opportunity to meet with some of our local residents, seasonal campers and boaters including those that have been coming here to Seneca Lake for 20 or 30 years, and I've enjoyed their insight and feedback," said Patrino. "We want to make this the best marina operation it can be, and I'm open to be approached by the users of this marina to give me their feedback to determine what makes this a great operation and a success."

Park officials have convened a focus group consisting of local residents, campers, marina users and local business owners that meets regularly to help develop a business plan for the marina.

"As we move forward, we want a business plan that meets the needs of all of our customers and business groups," said McGlothlin. "The group has been instrumental in helping us determine how we are going to move forward, and they will be included in the design and implementation process."

McGlothlin said he doesn't expect the marina to return exactly to its previous form.

"We are hiring an architect to work with the group to capture the needs of our customers," McGlothlin said. "We plan to branch out and capitalize on the things we have here at the park."

The MWCD is currently preparing for major renovations at the marina.

The work is scheduled to begin this week, according to McGlothlin.

"Our first project is to bring the electrical and plumbing up to code," he said. "We are going to renovate the basement in order to facilitate bait sales, boat rentals, dock services, gasoline sales and repair services."

The MWCD has hired a full-time boat mechanic to serve boaters at Seneca and Piedmont lakes.

The work is the first phase of the renovation project planned for the marina and is estimated to be completed in two to three weeks.

"We expect to open in mid to late-April," said McGlothlin.

Also under way is an estimated $30,000 in dock repairs. The MWCD has also ordered new docks totaling $184,000, which are currently being built.

McGlothlin said the plans for Phase II of the project involving the ground floor at the marina have not been finalized.

"Tentatively, we are looking at a restaurant and a camp store, but we expect to include additional services based on the input from the (focus) group," he said.

According to McGlothlin, the MWCD also plans to offer free clean-out and shower services to boaters during the upcoming season.

Individuals can contact the Seneca Lake Park office at 685-6013.

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