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November 15, 2013

Water displacement: Dock renters forced to move out of Jeffersonville marina

Action comes in wake of disagreement between mayor, council on renovations

JEFFERSONVILLE — Boat owners docked along Jeffersonville’s riverfront won’t be allowed to stay along the city’s shoreline beyond Nov. 30.

A letter sent to the boat owners who currently dock their boats in Jeffersonville’s marina on the Ohio River read that the Jeffersonville City Council refused to approve funding for the planned dock renovations and new marina, and without these renovations the existing docks are a public safety threat.

With the notification, Jeffersonville terminated the boat owners’ leases with the city effective Nov. 30. The leases are renewable year-to-year and the expiration date for 2013 was the Nov. 30 date.

“Now that the council has said, ‘no’ to the new docks, there’s no reason to extend [the leases] to the March date,” said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore. Winter fees extend to March, then the rate goes up for the boating season — March through November. “I don’t think it’s in Jeffersonville’s best interest to let boats continue to dock there.”

Parks Director Paul Northam, who authored the letter, said that there are only about six to eight people that stay at the docks during the winter season.

“In order to inventory and take a look at them we needed them to leave,” Northam said of the boat owners’ docks. “The city felt like it wanted to get a better handle on things are being maintained down there.”

He added that about 30 of the other boat owners that rent docks in Jeffersonville are leaving during the winter anyway. And with the boats gone, the city will be able to determine which docks, if any, are in need of repair or replacement.

One of those people who docks his boat only during the boating season is Jeffersonville boat owner Bill Schwab, who has been a fixture on the riverfront for about 12 years.

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