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Published: Tuesday, 1/15/2013

‘Free lunch’ to halt at city’s Skyway Marina

Proposals out to attract dockmaster

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Boat owners using the marina would no longer get free water and electrical hookups. Instead, they would pay a dockmaster. Boat owners using the marina would no longer get free water and electrical hookups. Instead, they would pay a dockmaster.
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Boaters looking this summer for free mooring at the Toledo Skyway Marina in East Toledo could be out of luck.

The Bell administration is planning to end that freebie with the hiring of a dockmaster to run the 77-slip marina off Front Street in East Toledo. The venue is part of the city's Marina District development along the Maumee River.

For the last three seasons, people have docked vessels on a first-come, first-served basis at the city's $6.3 million marina for free — complete with water and electricity hookups.

A request for proposals was issued by the city Monday and sealed proposals will be received by the city until 2 p.m. Feb. 12.

Deputy Mayor Paul Syring said he wants a three-year dockmaster contract.

“The city's goal is to have the facility self-sustaining,” Mr. Syring said. “My goal is not to have to pay the dockmaster anything. The dockmaster would generate enough fees from the docking fees to pay for himself.”

Any profits are required to be put back into the marina for repairs or improvements, according to the terms of a grant used to build the facility, he said.

Jen Sorgenfrei, Mayor Mike Bell's spokesman, said potential dockmasters would set fees for mooring and other amenities.

Last year, boaters told The Blade that the marina was free and unmanned since 2010. Then-Deputy Mayor Tom Crothers confirmed that it was free during the 2012 season because the city was unable to contract with anyone to manage the site.

The marina, formerly known as the Glass City Municipal Marina, opened in June, 2008. It shares its quarters with a marine passenger terminal developed by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which is scheduled to become the site of the Great Lakes Maritime Museum. The terminal includes showers, restrooms, and a store for use by boaters.

East Toledo Councilman Mike Craig supports hiring a dockmaster.

“I would imagine that the Great Lakes Maritime Museum will come out as the low-bidder on that because they will be there,” Mr. Craig said. “I think about 20 of those dock spaces have to be transient and no one is going to bring in their $500,000 boat up to Toledo if there is no one there to watch it.”

He said Toledo can capitalize on its waterfront by attracting boaters. “To put it this way, we can't capitalize on the water if we don't put money into that marina,” Mr. Craig said. “It's not going to be a real money-maker for anyone. The purpose is to bring in tourists and people to visit Toledo via the water.”

Contact Ignazio Messina at:imessina@theblade.com|or 419-724-6171.



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