Down on the docks

Madison officials make deal
on temporary boat docks

McGinnis, Napier team to offer
services for summer season

By Konnie McCollum
Contributing Writer

(July 2006) – The city of Madison, Ind., reached an agreement with local residents Gary McGinnis and Junior Napier to build boat docks along the riverfront, just in time for this summer’s festivals. The city has been without transient dock since owners of The Wharf restaurant pulled anchor and sailed to Carrollton in the harsh winter of 2005, taking with them the docks that they operated.

Madison Boat Docks

Photo by Emily Ward

Gary McGinnis and Junior Napier have
brought in temporary boat docks for
rent to boaters this summer.

The surprise move generated concerns by Madison city officials over the loss of business from boaters arriving from Louisville and Cincinnati. Many of these boaters shop the stores and eat in local restaurants during their stay.
McGinnis became involved in the deal from his previous work on the riverfront.
McGinnis recently bought some docks and approached Madison Mayor Al Huntington about a possible agreement to operate along the riverfront. An agreement was reached between the two parties that will help the city increase dock space for boaters and hopefully positively impact the local economy. In June, the Madison City Council voted to approve the agreement, the future of which will be determined how well things go this season, Huntington said.
McGinnis said that recent news reports about the city leasing the property to him for $1 were only partially true. Since boaters had already made arrangements to dock elsewhere for this current season, Huntington agreed to lease the property for $1 for this year only.
“There are far more financial obligations involved than simply $1,” McGinnis said. He added that some boaters were complaining to him about charging fees when he only had to pay $1 to lease the property. “I’ve had to do lots of explaining about that $1.”
Actually, there are several renewal options available to McGinnis, including a five-year option with another plan for an additional five-year agreement. All involve a series of financial requirements, with a portion of proceeds going back to the city.

Ribberfest Boats

Photo by Don Ward

Boaters arriving in Madison for
last year’s Madison Ribberfest had to
beach their crafts on the sandy
shore because there were no dock
services near the festival.

While currently there is 300 feet of docking space, McGinnis said plans are being made to add about 1,200 more feet of docking space next year if several deals can be worked out. McGinnis said that so far, the dock rentals are doing “much better, much faster” than expected.
Last year, boaters arriving for Madison festivals were allowed to beach their crafts on the riverbank. The situation is not ideal for boaters because there is no water or electricity, plus debris along the riverbank could cause damage to the bottom of their vessels.
The agreement with McGinnis comes after a failed attempt last year by the city to reach agreement with two other parties, each of which put forth proposals to operate boat docks.
“This is important for Madison, especially for tourism, because we have so many who come here by boat,” Huntington said at the City Council meeting. “I’m glad we finally got someone in here to do this. We’ll just see how it goes this year and then go from there.”

Back to July 2006 Articles.



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