State pledges to build marina at Caesar Creek Lake

Harveysburg mayor says he secured a promise from state officials.

By the numbers

2,749,782: Number of visitors to Caesar Creek Lake in 2009

2,830: Lake surface acreage

4: Boat launch ramps situated around the lake

1: Bait and tackle shop near the lake, Spillway Party Supply, 7646 Oregonia Road

MASSIE TWP., Warren County — A local push is under way to build a public marina on Caesar Creek Lake, and state officials are hoping to have a time line on the project by early fall.

Having a place to go for food, beverages and other supplies while boating on the 2,830-acre lake would be convenient for people like J.P. Wilson and his family. The Kettering residents launched their Sea Raider boat Thursday afternoon, June 24, to soak up some sun and go swimming.

“I think it would be real nice,” Wilson said of the proposed marina. “We bring our own food because there’s no place to eat.”

After meeting with state officials in May, Harveysburg Mayor Richard Verga sent a letter to residents informing them that Sean Logan, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, issued a promise — “We will build you a marina.”

Verga said the estimated cost of the three-year project, to feature boat storage areas and other amenities, would be $4.5 million.

A marina is long overdue, Verga said, because Caesar Creek, which has an unlimited horsepower designation for boats, is one of the most-visited parks in the state, yet visitors have to leave the park to buy bait, gas and other supplies.

“How realistic this is could be anyone’s guess, but at least we are on the right path,” Verga said.

Heidi Hetzel-Evans, ODNR spokeswoman, confirmed “ODNR is committed to building a marina at Caesar Creek State Park.”

A feasibility study that evaluated four possible locations was completed in 2008, Hetzel-Evans said. Officials are leaning toward a site near the beach, but Hetzel-Evans said the project is still in the preliminary stages and funding sources have not been identified.

Attendance at the park has increased in recent years, according to Brandi LeForge, account clerk for Caesar Creek and Cowan Lake state parks.

“Last year, we saw a big increase in attendance because of the economy,” she said. “People are staying closer to home for vacation.”

In Other News