Jordan Lake marina shakeup worries boaters
Posted February 6, 2012 5:22 p.m. EST
Updated February 7, 2012 4:39 p.m. EST
Apex, N.C. — The operation of the only marina on Jordan Lake in Chatham County will change hands this summer for the first time in three decades.
The Crosswinds Marina, at 565 Farrington Road in Apex, is sublet to an independent operator at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, which is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and leased by the state of North Carolina.
The marina's current lease agreement with operator Albert Urquhart expires in May, prompting the state to put out an open call for bids.
The Council of State on Tuesday approved a bid from John Norton to run the marina through August 2031. The State Property Office had recommended Norton's bid over one submitted by Urquhart, who has operated the marina since it opened.
Officials said it was simply a business decision, noting that Norton's bid proposed paying 15 percent of gross revenue to the state, while Urquhart offered only 8 percent.
The state will play no role in the transition to a new marina operator, said Don Reuter, spokesman for the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation.
"We're hopeful the two parties can work something out," Reuter said, referring to Urquhart and Norton.
Urquhart built the docks at the marina and installed its fuel pumps and restroom facilities. He said he'll pull out everything he owns if he doesn't get a fair offer, which has some boat owners worried that they'll be forced to move their boats.
"A lot of boat owners are very concerned about what's going to happen and the logistical nightmare that will occur if this transition isn't smooth," said Peter Laiosa, who has docked his boat at the Crosswinds Marina for the past six years.
He said re-docking a boat isn't as easy as finding a new parking space for a car.
"You have to have a specially designed trailer," he said. "You have to find long-haul people who can move it. I have no place to move it to. Where would I move it?"
Norton's company plans to revitalize the area, add training courses, boat rentals, a café, an observation deck and picnic area.