Marietta Harbor opens with changes, upgrades planned

Photo by Janelle Patterson Kaylee Moore, 18, of Marietta, left, scoops ice cream at the Marietta Harbor with Harbormaster Ron King.

MARIETTA — The Marietta Harbor will see a few changes this season, with bike and pontoon rentals going away but upgrades on the building planned.

With opening weekend and a brief stint on generator power under his belt, the Marietta harbormaster got to work with minor dock repairs Wednesday before the rain rolled in.

“We were out of power this morning, so I brought my generator in while the electric company worked on repairs,” explained Harbormaster Ron King. “We just have little things, general maintenance we need, and you know the roof is original, so it will need some updates this summer.”

The Marietta Harbor, which plays host to both seasonal boaters renting dock space for the summer and overnight guests passing through on their river vessels, opened Memorial Day weekend and will remain open through the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival for yet another season.

And though WASCO Inc., a private nonprofit which serves developmentally-disabled adults through community and employment integration, is no longer leasing the Harbor operations, King returned under the city’s employ this year now to mentor teens and young adults hired under Ohio Department of Job and Family Services funding.

“You get to know the people, it becomes like a little community on the seasonal docks, and it seems like every tourist to come through Marietta eventually stops in here,” he said. “I’ve had people come in here from Russia, Sweden, Afghanistan, Texas, Oklahoma–even Scotland. Plus you get to meet the river people, it’s a great time every summer.”

With WASCO choosing to not enter a new lease with the city for operations this winter and no other bidders taking interest in running the seasonal rentals and other duties at the onset of spring, the city took on operations this year and have done away with bike and pontoon boat rentals and are focusing on a small facelift to the building.

“You know what age does to buildings, especially right on the river with the weather. It needs paint and a little bit of roof work,” said Facilities Foreman Tanner Huffman.

“I’m excited to get it back up and beautiful again, I’d love to get some volunteer help to prep it for painting. The inside of the building is really nice, it’s just the outside that’s seen some weathering.”

Recreation Office Manager Susan Joyce said she’s in the process of hiring four additional JFS summer laborers for the harbor, which King said he’s looking forward to mentoring.

One of them is already working– his granddaughter Kaylee Moore.

“I pretty much grew up here every summer anyway,” said the 18-year-old college freshman, of Marietta. “I needed a summer job, and hey I have a good boss, and cute dogs walk by all the time. It’s great.”

The hires will have the opportunity to leave with marketable skillsets after tutelage from King.

“In the state of Ohio you have to be 16 or older to pump fuel, and with this kind of fuel on the dock, you have to be supervised by a Class A or C operator’s license,” he explained. “But as I teach them and they get comfortable with it, they can take that test, and they can leave with that certification.”

King said the harbor even has live cameras boaters can access and call ahead for weekend reservations on the overnight docks.

“We have some that will call a month in advance, and we have their spot ready for them when they get here,” said King. “The kids will be doing basic maintenance, weed eating and small dock repairs with me and then running the counter inside here.”

Inside the harbor remain the bathrooms, with keys to shower facilities for paying boaters, and in the gift shop, hot dogs, ice cream and drinks are offered alongside some memorabilia T-shirts and hats.

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Marietta Harbor Hours

* Closed Mondays

* Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

* Wednesday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

* Friday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

* Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Source: Harbormaster Ron King

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