Marine City leaders have been pushing for more than a year for open marina space on the Belle River to fill a void in the needs of boaters looking to stop and refuel.
But just days before the scheduled demolition of a property where the city plans to build a marina, a local business owner is ahead of them.
“We’re brand new so we’ve only been here about two weeks,” said Bill Rose, of Rose Marine Services, 7921 Dyke Road in Clay Township.
On Friday, he looked at the docks and the newly installed 6,000-gallon gas tank at 1215 S. Belle River Ave. in Marine City, where he said Belle River Marina was already starting to see many boaters pull up.
“It (seems), for me, the business is going to get pretty busy,” Rose said. “You know, as word gets around and people passing by may want to stop and refuel or get the fuel back on before they put the boat away for the weekend or a week of vacation. Like, let’s say if they run from Detroit to Petoskey, it’s just another fuel stop for them. …I have marine parts in stock as I am a technician. So if they had a failing water pump on their (engine) inboard and they were on their way to vacation, I could fix it.
Rose said the former owner of the Belle River site approached him about buying the property in September 2020. He also owns a five-and-a-half-acre fenced site across the road, where he said that they could accommodate a winter boat. storage.
Now, while equipped with 11 wells, two transitional wells for refueling, and water and electricity at the ends of each dock, they are still working to equip the adjacent marina building,
They have bathrooms inside, as well as newly installed and partially stocked produce shelves, empty chip shelves, and refrigerated equipment so boaters can soon grab a sandwich and a drink. Rose and manager Jimmy DeHeno said they also hope to have ice cream for the kids.
“We want people to feel like they can grab the necessities when they get on a boat right here,” DeHeno said. That also includes boat accessories, he said, so “if you’re stuck or stressed, we want to be able to help you here as well.”
Development of a “marine space” at Marine City
Rose joked that he had no gas dock experience, but said having “worked in many marinas in my life” he saw the need and the demand he could support – even if the city’s public marina project is taking shape nearby.
“I know Marine City is very excited about this area for some reason right now,” he said. “They want to get this marina area, so we’re eager to help them with that.”
Marine City Mayor Cheryl Vercammen said there “hasn’t been a gas dock on the river in years.” Earlier this month, she said Rose’s outfit was a positive development for the community.
“It’s independent of the city, but it’s still new,” she said. “Would be a good thing to mention because if you run out of gas or need gas, know that between Algonac and St. Clair we now have a gas station.”
Local leaders also spoke about the type of boaters the marina effort could accommodate, namely those who also want to visit the city’s amenities.
On Friday, Rose recalled that a 38- or 40-foot Boston Whaler had arrived the previous night “moored in one of the wells and headed for the Little Bar,” and he said he s was expecting other boaters to look for a place to stop for the night.
So across the street, Rose said they were renovating the interior of a nearby house to make it a future Airbnb.
“We’ll have five bedrooms, three bathrooms when we’re done,” he said. “It will be for hopefully the summer of 2023.”
The Belle River Marina Clark sign is within sight of passing boaters on the St. Clair River. For some users, however, Rose said she prefers boaters to make reservations when possible.
Since they were still rolling out the technology, their listing number will be (810) 765-5556. Rose also listed her cell at (810) 794-4810.
Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Jackie2Smith.