Colorado Parks and Wildlife will take possession of the 700-slip North Shore Marina at Lake Pueblo State Park November 1 after the current operator surrendered her contract to the state Tuesday.
CPW hopes to quickly turn over operations on an interim basis to a new business that would operate it until a formal, long-term contract can be negotiated and signed.
If an interim operator can be found, CPW intends for the new operator to perform repairs to the marina's electric system to allow bubblers to operate all winter to prevent ice from forming in the marina allowing boats to remain docked there.
"The current operator signed a settlement agreement essentially turning over the business to CPW, effective at midnight October 31," said Joe Stadterman, Lake Pueblo Park Manager. "At this point, we probably have more questions than answers. We ask for patience as we work through some complicated issues in the coming days and weeks.
"The main message here is that people and their boats can stay put, for now. But stay tuned. We must find an operator first."
The agency intends to issue current slip renters a permit allowing them to remain in their slips through the end of the year when new contracts with the interim operator would be negotiated and signed.
Until CPW finds an interim operator, the agency does not intend to reopen the marina store or sell fuel. However, it will keep the boat pump-out station and restrooms operational at this time.
For the past 20 years, the marina business has been owned and operated by Colorado Marine and Boat Works, whose principal agent is Connie Jack. Her contract was to expire on Dec. 31, 2022, and in recent months CPW solicited bids from prospective business partners to operate the marina in 2023 and beyond.
After initially submitting a bid, Jack withdrew from consideration. Meanwhile, CPW entered competitive negotiations with other bidders.
As part of the bid process, CPW hired an electrical consultant to evaluate the infrastructure at the marina. September 29, the consultant alerted CPW the marina electric circuits were dangerously deficient and out of compliance with national safety codes. Among many deficiencies, the consultant said the marina circuits lacked Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter breakers which protect people from serious electric shock and death by electrocution.
That day, CPW ordered Black Hills Energy to shut off power to the North Shore Marina pending repairs to the electric system.
Jack then hired an electrician who disconnected the marina's dock slips from the electric system and made limited repairs. After the upgrade passed a state inspection, CPW restored power October 14 to the marina store and its wastewater system, making restrooms operational.
"We will keep everyone updated on the status of the marina as we iron out details of the operations of the marina," Stadterman said.