The Lake Perry marina is a busy place this winter as workers repair damage done by a June tornado.
The owners of Lake Perry Yacht & Marina had planned to spend this winter adding amenities to make the next boating season better than ever.
Instead, work crews are having to hustle simply to repair damage done by a tornado that ripped through the marina six months ago.
Last week, a crew of workers was erecting metal roof supports on a new dock being built to replace one damaged by the storm.
The tornado itself lasted only a couple minutes, whipping across the water from the west, shoving one of the biggest docks and its six 4,000-pound anchors along with it. The winds toppled dry-docked boats, tore off part of the lodge roof and destroyed a metal building housing boats.
Despite the tornado coming at the height of boating season, the marina was able to remain open for business, coping with the damage through the remainder of the boating season.
But with the arrival of winter, the repair work began in earnest.
Scott Campbell, marina store manager, said a "conservative" estimate of the damage was $1.2 million.
Of the 360 slips in the marina, 62 had to be replaced, and the metal boat-storage building still needs replacing.
It was the second time in two years storms had damaged the marina.
In 1996, it was pounded with golfball-sized hail and felt the force of 60-mile-an-hour winds. The storm capsized boats and damaged buildings.
High water has been a problem periodically as well. Flooding in July 1993, for instance, caused extensive damage at the marina.
"We hope the target Mother Nature has painted on us is vanquished, given this last storm," Campbell said. "Time will tell."
If another storm does come, the marina will be better prepared.
The replacement docks are stronger than the ones they replaced, with heavy-duty steel and more flotation.
"We've somewhat overbuilt these compared to what we had," Campbell said. "It's not invincible, but it's tougher."
Campbell said that with continued good weather, the work should be done by March.
Once done with the repairs, marina workers can return to improvements.
"We hope to be able to spend our time this summer upgrading and expanding instead of replacing and fixing," Campbell said.
-- Kendrick Blackwood's phone message number is 832-7221. His e-mail address is email@example.com.