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Winchester Council finalizing proposal for marina project

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 5:25 am


deidre ortiz

By the end of February, the Winchester City Council expects to have the Request for Proposal for the Dry Creek Marina Project complete and ready to be publicized.

A work session was held last week to tweak the proposal, and during discussion, the council had questions regarding a couple of matters.

City Administrator Beth Rhoton stated she’s since emailed Tennessee Valley Authority representatives for answers to these inquiries but had not heard back as of Friday morning.

“The council had a question about the amount of insurance the city should require the applicants to have,” she said.

Winchester is also seeking to get more information from another municipality that has a marina operated by an independent company on city owned property.

“We’d just like to talk to them and find out what’s worked for them and what hasn’t,” Rhoton said.

In August 2006, the Winchester Council approved Winchester Marina, LLC/Harton Realty Company as the developer for the project.

 However, no construction of a marina ever came to fruition through this partnership.

 In June 2013, the Winchester City Council voted to officially dissolve the city’s contract with Winchester Marina LLC.

Then in September, the council began reworking it’s request for proposal for the Dry Creek Marina Project, which was initially created in 2005.

The city has since received feedback and suggestions, but Rhoton said that most recommendations were minor, and the overall RFP hasn’t changed too much from the version the city had put together almost 10 years ago.

 In general, plans for the Dry Creek Marina include a boat dock with 100 boat slips, restaurant, fuel dock, piers and public restrooms. According to the council’s previous talks, there also may be room for a hotel, camping sites, dry dock storage, as well as other amenities.

Projected cost of just the marina itself is estimated at around $5 million.

But at a meeting in September, Gene Seaton, Franklin County United Bank president and former member of the Winchester Economic Development Committee, mentioned the total scope of the project may cost a developer anywhere from $25 million to $30 million to complete.

Seaton added that the marina, whenever it’s developed, would greatly benefit the City of Winchester and could lead to many other growth opportunities.

 “This is a huge project. It has tremendous potential,” he said. “It will give the city a huge economic boost.”

 Rhoton also mentioned last week while the city isn’t looking to make a huge profit off the marina, it would definitely help the city further its economic development opportunities.

“We will take in some annual revenue for the use of the property, as well as a small percentage of fuel sales and other fees,” she said.

According to Rhoton, the city will likely adopt Tennessee Valley Authority’s recommended structure in determining fee costs.

The Winchester Council is expected to meet in another work session next month, during which the RFP may be finalized. Rhoton said once complete, the proposal would be advertised, and once advertised any interested parties would have 60 days to respond.