Jim Morris
Jim Morris

Jim Morris has worked for newspapers, radio, television and various Websites for more than 47 years. He has been a writer, an editor, an editorial writer and a columnist. For 23 years, Morris worked for the Troy Daily News as sports editor, managing editor and executive editor. In 1994 he began working at the Dayton Daily News as an outdoor sports columnist and night sports desk editor. He retired from the DDN in January of 2010 and is now a freelance writer with his own Website for outdoors stories.

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It’s been long-awaited. In fact, about 38 years. But at long last the state of Ohio is about to open a full-service marina at Caesar Creek State Park.

WAYNESVILLE – Since its construction in the mid-1970s, Caesar Creek Lake has been one of the best fishing and boating lakes in Ohio. It’s large (2,830 acres) and deep and with its high banks and densely wooded areas is one of the most picturesque areas of Ohio.

But for all these years – almost 40 now – Caesar Creek Lake has lacked one major facility. A marina. That is about to change.

On May 1, the new Marina at Caesar Creek will open in what will be a welcomed day for boat owners.

“We are planning a ‘soft opening’ for that day,” explained Nathan Steiner, park manager for the 4,700-acre Caesar Creek State Park. “That means the doors will open, but we won’t be up to full speed. We’ll have more to offer as we go along.”

The grand opening will be sometime in mid-May with the date to be determined.

Having a marina on a lake the size of Caesar Creek is important because up to now if a family or anyone using a boat there for a day either has to carry extra gasoline or stop, get off the boat, drive into one of the nearby towns to pick up gas, transport it back to the lake and then pour it into the boat tank or hook it up to the motor.

When the marina opens, gasoline – with no ethanol – will be available on the lake.

“We have a 2,000-gallon gas tank with a gas pump at the end of the dock,” Steiner said.

Perhaps even more important, the marina will have restrooms along with shower facilities. There will also be a concession area with snacks and bait shop with a minnow tank.

“We will be able to offer just about everything people will need to be able to stay out on the lake all day,” Steiner added.

The marina will have 112 boat slips and 10 docks which can be used to pull into to run into the marina. A lottery was held in March to assign the slips for this year. All have been leased. In August a new lottery will be held for next year’s dock space. About half of the docks have water and electric hookups.

There is also a dumping station.

To help make life a bit more comfortable while visiting the marina from the lake, it is surrounded on the north and east by a wave attenuator, an artificial barrier to help keep wave action down for boats in the marina.

While no fishing will be allowed from the marina docks, several bank fishing spots have been created during marina construction just north of the Ohio 73 bridge. In addition, the stocked youth pond next to the marina has been enhanced and from there it is just a short distance to the handicapped dock.
Clint Tellep, 28, has been named marina manager. He’ll be in charge of sales and daily operation.

The $8 million marina was constructed entirely with Waterway Safety Fund money, not tax dollars. These funds come from boat registrations, a share of the state gasoline tax and grants from the U.S. Coast Guard. Future development of the marina area could include boat maintenance facilities, a full-service restaurant, overnight rooms and other businesses. The extent of the development will depend on how much the private sector wants to invest in the project.

“Our customers will quickly realize the marina is a quality facility that will serve Ohio’s boaters for many, many years,” said Phil Miller, project director. “And we look forward to enhancing their experience when they come to Caesar Creek.”

Why did it take so long to get a marina on the lake? Money. The state wanted a private sector partner, but no suitable firm has been found. With the Waterways Safety Fund to back it, the state finally decided to build it and run it.

“Our plan all along has been to bring the private sector in and concession it out,” said Division of Parks Chief Gary Obermiller. “But at the first bite of the apple we didn’t get anything that worked for us. So we’re going to run it ourselves with the idea of maybe taking bids in the future.”

Obermiller said the division is looking at a possible phase II which would expand the docks, adding 130 slips.

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