In June 12-18 issue
By Greg Jensen
Special to The Times JournalABOVE: U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield, owners Esty and Ed Slusser, and Russell Co. Judge-Executive Mickey Garner cut the ribbon to celebrate the opening of the new Cave Springs Marina.
JABEZ - Lake Cumberland’s newest marina is officially open. U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield joined with Russell County Judge-Executive Mickey Garner and owners Ed and Esty Slusser in “cutting the ribbon” last Saturday at Cave Springs Marina.
The 6 p.m. dedication ceremony was attended by a couple of hundred Lake Cumberland enthusiasts.
The marina was busy all day with visitors and boaters buying gas from the newly installed pumps and many were taking advantage of special pricing in the Ship Store and restaurant — Sadie’s Sunset Café — which ran specials all day.
Cave Springs Marina is a new name bestowed on the former franchise known as Alligator I Marina. After the Corps of Engineers announced that Lake Cumberland would be lowered for many years while work on fixing serious seepage problems at Wolf Creek Dam was underway, the original site of Alligator I was sitting in very shallow water after the lake was lowered last year.
Located at what became the uppermost point of the Wolf Creek area of the lake, the new owners petitioned the Corps to relocate the marina to deeper water.
After several months of the process they were granted the right to place the marina at the Cave Springs launch near Jabez.
The new location is just off the main lake in very deep water.
Congressman Whitfield noted in his dedication comments: “A lot of battles have been fought and Ed and Esty Slusser made this happen through their determination and persistence.
“The marina will help the local economy and create jobs and opportunities for development.”
As the marina began to relocate over the winter with the help of a number of volunteers, the community in the Jabez area began to pick up some extra development.
Esty Slusser noted their importance in the move: “We couldn’t have done this without the volunteers and many important people.”
The volunteers were mostly customers of the marina who have worked many hours without pay in helping to disassemble the old marina, move sections downstream and put it all back together in a new way.
John Francis, houseboater and volunteer crew foreman, in regards to countless days of volunteer work of moving the marina, noted: “It’s been a privilege working here for Ed and Esty.”
Francis lost 25 pounds over the many months of hard physical work.
Gary Fisher, another houseboater and volunteer crewmember said: “Ed and Esty are classy people and I feel lucky to be here in a position to help.
“Besides, we got a suntan in February,” he added with a grin. ”It’s amazing …we pulled this off.”
Sal and Barb Salazar, longtime boaters based out of Alligator I since 1970, noted the new location will be better for the marina.
Sal, known as the unofficial “mayor” of the marina, commented that he feels that the new location is great and will only get better.