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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Unfinished Philpott marina already drawing interest
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The marina at Philpott Lake is under construction along the shoreline at boat ramp #1. The marina structure later will be floated out into the water. Although it still is under construction, the marina has drawn interest from some lake visitors, according to Roger Adams, director of Henry County Parks and Recreation. The marina will have 42 boat slips, with two reserved for users of a recently-completed group campsite. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Construction is not complete, but a marina that will serve Philpott Lake visitors already is attracting interest, officials said.

“We’ve had 71 people call and express an interest in getting a (boat) slip,” said Roger Adams, director of Henry County Parks and Recreation.

The marina will have 42 boat slips, with two reserved for users of a group campsite.

When the boat slips are ready, “we will mail contracts to the first 40 people on the list and give them a chance to respond,” Adams said. “After that point, I will continue working my way down the list until we fill up the slips” with renters.

Each slip will rent for $1,300 per year. Those who pay the full amount in one payment will receive a $100 discount. People who pay in installments will pay the full $1,300, Adams said.

Potential renters are from various areas, including Henry, Franklin and Patrick counties, North Carolina and elsewhere, officials said.

At the groundbreaking in May, Col. Steven Baker, commander of the Wilmington (N.C.) District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the lake, estimated that 500,000 people visit the lake annually and contribute up to $20 million to the local economy. The marina “hopefully will add to that,” Baker said at that time.

County officials awarded contracts this spring to begin work on the $1.35 million marina, which will provide basic amenities such as fuel sales, bait and tackle; a fueling slip; and gangway access. The marina project also includes 30 parking spaces for cars and trucks; 12 extended parking spaces for trucks and trailers; and the 42 uncovered, or wet, boat slips.

Although there are no fees for those who only visit the marina, Deputy County Administrator Dale Wagoner said the corps charges daily fees ($3 to $30, depending on the activity) for use of the boat ramp and/or lake.

It is not known yet when the marina will open, Wagoner said.

It is being built off-site, transported to the lake in sections, then floated and secured in place.

Already workers have “set the trusses, and construction continues on the concessions part of the building,” Wagoner said.

Mark Heath, president and CEO of the Martinsville Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC), said the interest in the slips “should tell anybody about the potential impact of the marina.”

The marina’s services will benefit visitors, and visitors will benefit the area, Heath said.

“The marina will make us more attractive and help bring more people here. I think the marina will have a huge positive impact on sports tourism, which is part of our overall economic strategy. The whole reason the EDC is involved in tourism is because it brings money” into the area, he added.

Visitors to the area will stay in motels, camp in campgrounds, eat in local restaurants and otherwise spend money here, Heath said. “It all helps our economy, and we at the EDC will be working with the people at the county’s recreation office to help position and promote the marina. We believe it’s one of the major stakes in the ground to help sell the area” to tourists/visitors.

Funding for the actual marina includes $785,971 from the county (including the $110,971 that was left over from a water line project at Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre); $418,138 from the Harvest Foundation; and $150,000 from the EDC.


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