Marina owner says business will bounce back

November 2, 2009

Marina operator says business will bounce back


The owner of two area marinas said he believes it may take some additional time, but business will bounce back at his and the other marinas at the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) lakes.


“We’re creating a lifestyle on and near the water and we have to work hard to ensure that people recognize that and receive what they expect,” said Bob Schraedly, owner of Charles Mill Marina and Pleasant Hill Marina. “I’ve seen a lot in the years that I have been in this business, but I expect it to come back.”


Schraedly provided a marina industry report to members of the MWCD Board of Directors during a recent meeting. Schraedly, who has owned Charles Mill Marina since 1985 and Pleasant Hill Marina since 2004, has a total of 38 years in the marina business.


There are 10 marinas located on the MWCD lakes (one each at Charles Mill, Clendening, Piedmont, Pleasant Hill, Seneca and Tappan lakes, and two each at Atwood and Leesville lakes). The marinas are privately owned businesses located on property that is leased from the MWCD, with the MWCD receiving a portion of the proceeds of the marina operations according to the terms of the leases.


Through the end of September, the MWCD share of the marina operations had decreased by more than $62,000 total from the same period as in 2008 ($582,722 in 2008 compared to $520,360 in 2009). Schraedly said the most noticeable drop in revenue occurred in boat sales, a trend that follows regional and national reports.


“Obviously the state of the overall economy has had quite a bit to do with that, too,” said Schraedly. “And the marine industry manufacturers have downsized quite a bit. Boaters can find good value out there now.”


Schraedly also said that marina operators need to consider a couple of key marketing tools to reach their customers.


“The Internet has changed everybody’s life, and those of us at marinas, too,” he said. “It’s amazing where everybody comes from to our marina through an 800 (toll-free telephone) number and a good website.”


In another matter, members of the Board approved advertising for bids for construction of improvements at the main boat launch ramp at Tappan Lake. The MWCD has received a $400,000 grant from the Cooperative Boating Facility Grant managed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Watercraft.


The project at the ramp located off Rt. 250 just east of the dam at Tappan will include a new concrete launch ramp with floating docks, expansion of the parking lot to create additional trailer parking spaces as well as car-only parking, a new restroom closer to the ramp and new courtesy docks.


Construction is expected to begin sometime during 2010.


In other business, the Board:


- was informed that the design has been completed for a new wastewater treatment system for the Sites Lake Cottage Area at Charles Mill Lake and the project has been advertised for public bid. Construction on the project estimated at about $900,000 is expected to begin in 2010.


- agreed to award a contract to Roubas Painting Inc. on its low bid of $256,200 for painting and maintenance of the water tower located at Atwood Lake Resort and Conference Center. The interior dry area and exterior of the tower will be painted, and several repairs also made at the facility. The project is being funded through a combination of federal stimulus funds (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Supply Revolving Loan Account.


- heard a report from Gordon Maupin, executive director of The Wilderness Center, about modern conservation biology, "Theory of Island Biogeography."

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