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Tappan Lake Marina building now open

OFFICIALLY OPEN — The new Tappan Marina restaurant and bar finally held its official opening ceremony May 27 after many delays during the past year. -- J.D. Long

TAPPAN — A rather large crowd turned out for the long-awaited ribbon cutting on the Tappan Lake Marina building, which includes a new restaurant and outside deck.

Craig Butler, executive director of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, spoke briefly prior to seeing the long-awaited ribbon cutting on the new Tappan Lake Marina building that was held May 27. Butler introduced a host of people and thanked many others for their participation in making the project happen.

He acknowledged the difficulties in getting this project to the finish line, which he attributed greatly to COVID-19, as well as supply problems. In the beginning, there were bid problems where the design had to be altered in order to cut some of the cost down.

“Obviously, we can’t do this alone,” Butler began. “We work with a lot of the contractors and steel trades, and they did a fabulous job.”

“It was a challenge because of COVID,” Butler said. “It was a challenge because of some supply chain issues … but we always knew we would get it done.”

Butler also showed off the new electric charging station that is now in place, situated just to the right of the building. And Shari Lewis, owner of Dennison Yard and proprietor of the Tappan Lake Marina Restaurant, also spoke of plans for the restaurant.

The ambition is to remain open throughout the year, which previously was not the case. She said they are still looking for workers to fill out the summer workforce. But she called the six weeks they have been open a “great start.”

“We couldn’t ask for a better starting staff …” she said, adding that they are still building on the menu. Events planned include live music and yoga on the outside deck.

“We know we will have the audience in the summer, but we need to keep people interested and want them to come back year-round,” Lewis said.

Along with various MWCD department heads, state Rep. Don Jones, R-Freeport, was present. Two board members were present, Joanne Limbaugh and Robert Morehead. Also present were Harrison County and Twin City Chambers of Commerce.

Butler spoke later and said the second phase of the master plan is nearly completed with the final two projects including the welcome center at Tappan Lake Park, where they’re attempting to obtain a qualifying bid.

“Prices are so high that it’s been difficult, so we’re still working through that,” Butler said.

The activity center at Atwood Lake Park is the second project where bids are to be opened. He said that would amount to another $3 million to $4 million for these two large projects before they can close out on Phase II.

There is a third phase, which would encompass amenities where each park is expected to see another $2 million injected for activities purposes, according to Butler. This would include splash pads, basketball and pickle ball courts, for example. Butler said the recent agreement with Encino Energy for leasing 7,300 acres of its land should finance Phase III projects.

“There are places that we’ve obviously made upgrades to in the park and there are some areas that still need done,” Butler said, “so each park has additional work that would be infrastructure …”

He added that other ideas include glamping and building more cabins. Butler said the restaurant has been very busy and said they also hope to see it remain open throughout the year. He said the docking business is booming and the demand is overwhelming what they are able to supply at the present time. But three new docks have been added to Tappan.

Included in one of the new features was for boaters to dock and fuel up and pay right there without having to leave the dock and go inside.

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