Power washers, window cleaners and gardeners were primping Ohio’s newest marina building for its opening Saturday — a $4.6 million centerpiece to a reimagined Alum Creek State Park.
To christen the new facility, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is hosting Alum Creekend, a weekend celebration with games, paddling demonstrations, trail hikes, music, fishing and more Saturday and Sunday.
But the highlight will be the Delaware County park and its new marina at 4000 Hollenback Road, Mary Mertz, ODNR director, said.
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“We’re really sort of laser-focused on this park, and this is sort of the capstone,” she said.
Robertson Construction completed the project a few weeks ago. Subcontractors were adding landscaping, signs and other finish work Friday morning.
Mertz said the 7,000 square-foot building’s bold blue color, towering cupola and open-air feel were modeled after the marina at Middle Bass Island on Lake Erie.
“We tried to capture that nautical feel,” she said.
First-time visitor Michael Tobin brought his wife, Michelle Aminov, and children Gaby, 3, and Aviva, 1 1/2 ,to rent a pontoon boat Friday.
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“It looks awesome,” said Tobin, of Powell. “We’re just going out for a couple of hours. But it seems like a nice place to hang out.”
Park manager Jason Meyers said the previous 1980s marina, which has been replaced by the new building, was very dated.
“It had outgrown its usefulness and had a lot of wear and tear,” Meyers said.
A modern food concession will feature hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, ice cream and milkshakes. An outdoor patio with ceiling fans and music add to the vacation feel.
“We’re trying to promote a lake lifestyle,” said Bryan Dreyer, a partner with Cross Enterprises, operator of the food and marina shop concessions that previously had been in separate buildings. “I think this building is a game changer.”
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Perhaps most welcomed are modern restrooms and four private showers, facing Alum Creek Lake.
The marina is funded by a boater safety fund, boat rentals and gas taxes, along with help from the Ohio State Parks Foundation.
Alum Creekend activities and schedule
The weekend events begin at 11 am Saturday and run through 4 pm Sunday.
The following locations around the park will host Alum Creekend activities:
Beach, 3400 Lewis Center Road
Archery, the Division of Wildlife’s mobile food kitchen, life jacket relay races, paddle sports demonstrations, and a Touch-A-Truck exhibit will be offered at the south end of the beach. Guided storybook trail hikes will be offered at the north end. Food trucks will offer refreshments for sale. Swimming, a playground and picnic tables are also available.
Campground, 2911 S. Old State Road
Nature arts and crafts, games, and a scavenger hunt will take place at the park’s nature center. Meet the naturalist and get a sneak peek of the nature center’s interior makeover.
Sailing Association, Lewis Center Road west of beach entrance
Sailing demonstrations and related activities will be available at the shelter house, which is located before the Group Camp Area entrance. Experienced sailors from the Alum Creek Sailing Association will be on hand to answer questions. Sailing activities are available on Saturday only.
Hollenback Boat Ramp, 4000 Hollenback Road
The site of the new marina building, this area will feature marina tours and youth fishing. The marina’s new commissary will be open all weekend and live music will be available Saturday afternoon.
Mountain Bike Trailhead, 5831 Lewis Center Road
Volunteers from the Central Ohio Mountain Bike Association will be offering mountain biking demonstrations for bike riders of all ages, including the youth skills course. Additionally, adaptive biking and kayaking equipment will be on-hand for demonstration.
US Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center, 3905 Lewis Center Road
Take the short trail from the beach or drive to the US Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center for an opportunity to visit the center’s nature exhibits, take in an Ohio raptor show, tour the dam, or learn more about the area’s Underground Railroad history. Activities are being offered both days.