Sunset Marina In Dire Need Of Dredging; Rates Raised Again - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Sunset Marina In Dire Need Of Dredging; Rates Raised Again

Sunset Marina In Dire Need Of Dredging; Rates Raised Again

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In dire need of dredging. Rock Island city leaders say a lack of maintenance at Sunset Marina is a threat to the future of the popular harbor. But in order to fix years of build up, boaters who use it will be paying more again.

The water has gotten so shallow some of the docks are sitting at the bottom of the lake instead of floating. Some larger boats can't use the marina and the drought this year made the situation even worse. It has the city coming up with a plan to regularly dredge and an increase in dock rates will help make it happen.

Charlene Roenfeldt and her husband have been paying for a slip at Sunset Marina for the last six seasons. This year, it cost her about $2,000 dollars just to see her boat sit. "It's too shallow to boat in and out. In fact, we've not been out in our boat all summer," said Roenfeldt.

In fact, her boat is supposed to be at a different dock completely but the water is too shallow to keep it there. "We're not pleased. I don't know, they definitely need to dredge and they need to dredge the whole area, not just the entrance," added Roenfeldt.

The Corps of Engineers used to help pay for the costs but stopped. The last time the marina entrance was dredged was about a year ago. The harbor, for the most part, hasn't had it since 1988. "Our water levels are lower because of the drought. That makes the bottom a lot closer to the top," said Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley.

The city now plans to dredge every other year, some from the entrance and some from the harbor, at a cost of about $71,000. Roenfeldt says she's glad they're putting together a plan, but she's not thrilled with another rate increase after the price has gone up for the last several years. Right now boaters pay between $30 and $73 per foot for a slip. The city is increasing that by 3% next year, and another 3% for 2014.

Empty slips is what city leaders don't want to see, and say dredging regularly is the only option. "it (occupancy) has declined over the years. We have a little over 400 spots in that marina. We need to make it so it's a viable marina," added Mayor Pauley.

In 2009 the city raised the rates 3% percent for the following season. In 2010 boaters again saw a 3% to 15% hike for the next two years.

Some emergency dredging will begin this fall and more will come either this spring or next fall. The city is also dealing with debt on the marina, about $630,000. Re-financing is also part of the plan to cover costs.

 

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