“I think it’ll be good,” Frank Plennert of Lebanon said as he guided his trailer and power boat into the lake.
Plennert was glad to hear the state planned to offer fuel and suggested boaters would also patronize a restaurant at the marina.
The state of Ohio is funding the initial project but plans to contract with a private operator on future development of the site. Total project cost has been estimated at $15 million. The public money is to come from gas taxes deposited in a Waterway Safety Fund.
Ultimately, plans call for as many as 400 slips and a fishing pond for kids.
A marina has always been part of plans at the park, opened in 1978.
Various plans have been proposed, some relying on private developers, others based on state funding.
A decade ago, plans to build a marina were set aside after state funds were used for other projects, including the purchase of North Bass Island, according to Harden.
“We were just overlooked and overlooked,” said Harden, whose group has lobbied for the project in Columbus.
State officials said that construction can begin this winter due to completion of an archaeological survey for potential historical significance required by the U.S. Corps of Engineers.
The Corps developed the lake in the 1970s as a flood control reservoir and rents the 7,941-acre park to the state.
“Marina construction will continue through 2015, and the project is planned for completion in 2016,” Eileen Corson, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft, said in an email.
While hopeful, Harden said, “I’ll believe it when they start turning the dirt.”