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Anchors aweigh
Residents and officials enjoying local marina
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Boats are seen docked at Philpott Marina last weekend. The marina is at full capacity, according to officials. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer

David Nylander Sr. was in a tight spot.

On Saturday, Nylander and his son, David Nylander Jr., had taken their boat out on Philpott Lake. Nylander Sr. had put gas in the tank, he said, until the pump automatically shut off.

He was surprised that it didn’t take as much gas as he thought it would to fill the tank, but he didn’t think much of it.

A few hours later, his boat ran out of gas, and the Nylanders were stranded on the lake.

Fortunately, a neighborly boater towed them to the Philpott Marina, and Nylander was able to fill his gas tank at the marina’s pump and get back on the open water within minutes.

“It should have been here a lot longer,” Nylander said of the marina. “It really should have. ... It’s kind of desolate when you come out (on the lake) and there’s nothing. Look how well this worked for me.”

Nylander said it was the first time he had taken his boat — a 1982 model once used by the Philpott Lake rangers — out to Philpott since he bought it about seven years ago.

“We take it out one time and spend a year repairing it,” he joked.

The marina saw a large turnout over the July 4 weekend, and there was no shortage of positive comments.

Patrick County resident Bob Foster said his brother rents one of the 40 slips at the marina, and Foster has been visiting the facility since it opened, coming almost every weekend and often during the week as well.

“I’m a fisherman,” Foster said, “(but) we go out there and boat, tube around and have fun.”

Jeff Newman said he’s been visiting the marina since it opened, but he’s been on Philpott Lake his whole life.

“Everybody seems to enjoy (the marina),” Newman said. “It’s convenient and great for the campers. I think we’re pulling a lot more people from Carolina now, too, so it’s good for the economy. I think it’s a good deal.”

Deputy Henry County Administrator Dale Wagoner said the county has received plenty of positive comments on the marina since its grand opening in April.

“Our employees at the marina are constantly interacting with the public that visit there, and we’re getting rave reviews — what an asset it is, what a nice facility it is. ... They’re so glad that it’s in our community,” Wagoner said.

Wagoner himself spent Friday and Saturday at the marina, he said — on leisure, not business — and he was struck by the high level of use he witnessed.

“It was a consistent flow of boat traffic in and out of the marina,” he said, “as well as foot traffic from visitors to the marina both days ... and Sunday as well, I understand.”

Wagoner said he spoke recently with Henry County Parks and Recreation Director Roger Adams, and although solid numbers are not yet available, both are confident that the marina will meet revenue expectations of $229,000 for the fiscal year that began July 1.

“We’re confident on the numbers,” Wagoner said, “and we’re satisfied with the revenues being generated from the marina, that they will meet our expectations to cover the expenses related to operating.”

All 40 slips at the marina are rented, he said. Since the grand opening, he said, two renters have opted to pull out of the marina, but their slips quickly were filled, and about 20 people remain on a waiting list for a slip.

They may have a while to wait. Slip renter Mike Foster, who could be found sitting on his boat Saturday with friend Conley Baker, said he much preferred docking his boat over hauling it to the lake every weekend.

“I’ll have a slip here next year,” Foster said. “For as long as I have this boat, I’ll have a slip here.”


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