Docks are open in new location

The Muskingum River Boat Docks have moved a few blocks upstream during the last couple of weeks, and are now located on the river at 110 West Montgomery St., near the Marietta River Trail and Washington County Fairgrounds.

On Wednesday, owners Dan and Shana Woodford were working on running water and electrical service to the docking facilities.

“There’s still quite a bit to be done, but the docks are open and boats are able to pull in, and there are a few dock spaces available,” said Shana Woodford, adding that anyone interested in leasing space can stop by the Montgomery Street location.

“There’s almost always someone here,” she said.

The Woodfords are leasing around 500 feet of riverbank where the new docks are located.

About 200 feet of that property is being rented from Gerry Donahue, who owns an adjacent manufactured home and recreational vehicle park at 111 West Montgomery St.

“We’ve rented space for our boat from the Woodfords for years, so we’re pretty excited that the docks will be located there,” said Donahue’s wife, Alison.

She noted the docks are in an ideal recreational location along the popular River Trail pedestrian and biking pathway, as well as near the Donahues’ RV park.

“There are still a couple of manufactured homes remaining, but about 95 percent of the park is for RVs now,” she said.

The Woodfords are leasing the remaining 300 feet of riverbank from the Washington County Fair Board.

“This is the first time we’ve leased the property for dock space, but Dan and Shana approached us about it and we reached an agreement for a 10-year lease,” said Paul Barth, fair board president. “We’re looking forward to working with them.”

He said although the current lease is for 300 feet of riverbank, the Woodfords could have an option for more space if needed in the future.

Neither Barth nor Donahue would say how much the Woodfords are paying for the leases.

“But I think this has turned out good for all of us,” Barth said, noting that the fair board could always use additional revenue.

The Muskingum River Boat Docks were originally located just south of the Washington Street Bridge and have been owned and operated by the Woodfords since they purchased the facilities from Jim Wiblin in 2009.

That dock space-about 300 feet of riverbank-was being leased by the Woodfords from the city at a price of $1,500 a year.

But earlier this year the Woodfords lost that lease after it expired and was put up for bid by city officials.

Jason Sands, owner of the Valley Gem Inc. sternwheeler excursion business, situated just north of the original Muskingum River Boat Docks location, outbid the Woodfords for lease of the city property.

Sands bid $3,141 per year, while the Woodfords had submitted a bid of $3,002.

Sands is currently constructing another set of private docking facilities in that area.