In April 28 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
The owners of State Dock purchased Cave Springs Marina in Jabez on Friday at a court-ordered auction, according to State Dock President Bill Jasper. The winning bid of $2.7 million was made by Michael Bernard, an investor and partner at State Dock.
Ford Brothers also auctioned off a nearby mobile home park, cabins, and several storage buildings at the sales event Friday which State Dock did not purchase.
"We are really excited to be in this location," said Bill Jasper, president of State Dock. "This location is about as good as any on the lake. It is a 10 minute boat ride from State Dock and the setup is gorgeous."
Jasper said he and his partners were excited about the opportunity to become part of the community at Cave Springs.
He said that Nancy Harden, a lifelong boater who is new to the marina, will take on the manager role at Cave Springs.
"We're tickled to death to have her," he said, saying she has been a stable at State Dock for several years. "The customers will get along with her too; she is such a people person."
The previous owner, Ed Slusser, purchased the former Alligator I Marina almost a year before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a new lower lake level during repairs to Wolf Creek Dam back in 2007. Not long after that Slusser ran into financial difficulties after he relocated the marina five miles up Wolf Creek to the end of Island Ramp Road in Jabez.
Slusser has said the move cost him more than $1 million and blamed the Corps for not helping him recoup any losses in the relocation of the marina several years ago.
Jasper said the situation was unfortunate and that he felt for the Slusser family but that it was now a goal to make the marina in Wolf Creek one of the best on the lake as it has some of the prettiest scenery.
Jasper noted that the goal is to continue what was the Slusser's vision and complete a marina that will provide the best boating experience possible.
"We also invite customers from Cave Springs to visit State Dock and vice versa," Jasper said. "Cave Springs customers will receive the same benefits as a State Dock customer such as discounts in the ships store and on fuel and admission to events."
He said the plan is to have the ships store open within two weeks, and will immediately begin plans to pave the parking lots, install a septic system and make various other improvements, including the popular marina restaurant which draws many folks in from all over the lake. He said covering the outdoor dining area would also be finalized.
"As we begin this process, we are eager to hear from our new customers," Jasper said. "All of their customers loved this place. It is a lifestyle, a community and a second home. The layout can't be better."
He said he wanted to keep the marina's feel as it has been since it was moved three years ago.
"Every finger on the dock has a different personality and we want to keep it that way," he said. "We'll be doing some sprucing up, though; we're very much about service.
Jasper said out of the 240 slips at Cave Springs, there are currently approximately 160 boats docked there.
While the auction took place last Friday, Jasper said he and his partners had had their eyes on Cave Springs for some time.
Jasper said he will be at Cave Springs next Saturday at 10 a.m. central time to meet with any of their customers that would like to come by and meet and let them know what you would like to see for the future of Cave Springs.
"It is all about catering to people and bringing them back in," he said. "This is a special place."
With the sale complete, the marina will remain in its current location and not move back to the Alligator One location when the Corps raises the lake back up when dam repair work is finished in December 2013.