BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A poll placed on Pen City Current for the past five days showed 70% of those responding support committing city funds to the new Fort Madison marina project.
With 426 responses received in five days, 299 or 72.2% said they support the city spending $1.5 million to help fund what Mayor Matt Mohrfeld is calling a “5-star marina”. Of the 426, 127 said they didn’t support the use of city funds.
The Fort Madison City Council voted two weeks ago to commit the funding for the project. The $1.5 million could trigger another $4.5 million in private investment to get the project rolling and possibly opened by April 1, 2022. Additional phases of work at the marina could raise the cost to close to $11 million, but the additional work would come in years after the opening.
Other initial funding could come from Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Commission and other private investors.
The poll also asked respondents to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being low and 5 being high, how important the proposed project is to local economic development. Of 432 responses on that question 39.6% or 171 votes were high or a “5”, and 17.1% or 74 votes were a “1”. Other responses included 21.1 % – “4”, 10.9% -“3”, and 11.3% – “2”.
A third question asked responders to rate 1 being none and 5 being high, how likely they were to utilize the new marina.
Of the 432 responses 45.4% or 196 people indicated a “5” while 116 or 26.9% indicated a “1”. Other responses were 11.8% – “4”, 8.6% – “3”, 7.4% – “2”.
The new marina project includes a new extended and raised pier, dredging the marina almost four feet, a new hospitality center including a convenience store and new restroom shower facilities, and 100 brand new dock slips with about 50 covered.
FEMA has agreed to additional funding to help with the deeper dredge of the marina, and some of the proceeds from the dock rentals and the sales at the hospitality center would be used to pay for maintenance and future dredging as needed.
The project is a combination of public/private investments with both profit and non-profit organizations involved in a multiple lease arrangement with the city owning the property.