Low Water On Lake Cumberland Forcing Marina To Move

RUSSELL SPRINGS, Ky. (AP) - The owner of a Lake Cumberland
marina stuck in shallow water is planning to move the business as
work continues on the lake's leaking dam.
Ed Slusser, who owns Alligator Dock 1 in Russell County, said
officials with the Army Corps of Engineers have told him he can
move the 350-slip marina.
Federal officials have lowered the lake's water level to ease
pressure on Wolf Creek Dam, and businesses along the water are
expected to take a hit this summer. The water level is expected to
be about 40 feet lower than its typical summer level, which could
scare off some of the lake's nearly 5 million annual visitors.
The lower water level has left the launch ramp at Alligator 1
high and dry, and the topography of the land would make it hard to
extend its ramp into the water.
Another problem is that at the lower lake level, there is only a
few feet of water beneath the boats, causing concern that boats
could go aground if the corps drops the lake level further or there
is a drought.
"We can't afford to sit here," said Mark Blakeman, manager of
the marina.
Slusser said the move will also be costly. He estimated it will
cost $3 million to dismantle the facility, tow its dock to the new
location and build a parking lot. Slusser said he's hoping for a
federal grant or low-interest loans to help with the move.
Craig Shoe, the federal agency's resource manager for the lake,
said that if nothing unusual develops, the corps will let Slusser
move his marina.
"We're trying to work with him to see how to do it," Shoe
Slusser said he sold a dental lab he operated for 30 years and
mortgaged his house to buy the Alligator I marina last year.
The site where Slusser is looking to move Alligator 1 is near
the Jabez community in Russell County, and about five to six miles
away from the current location.
"It's a real pretty spot," Slusser said.
Another commercial marina on the lake, Buck Creek Boat Dock in
Pulaski County, has already moved because of the Corps of
Engineers' decision to keep water lower than usual on the lake this
And last week, parts of a Lake Cumberland marina broke loose
after heavy rains, sinking one houseboat and overturning two more.
About 35 boats broke loose at London Dock Marina, manager Donnie
Ellison said. Ellison said marina workers had recently moved the
dock and slips because of low water.
The Corps of Engineers' plans to keep the surface of the lake at
680 feet above sea level this year to lower the risk of a breach in
the dam while making repairs. The normal summer level is 723 feet
above sea level.
The $309 million federal project to repair the dam could take up
to seven years.

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