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Wastewatch Update: Riverfront marina in Milton

Nearly three years ago, the city of Milton bought the Quinn Bayou Marina along the Black Water River. The hope is the half-million dollar investment will revitalize the riverfront and turn a profit for the city.

Ship Shape Services moved into this Marina back in September.  So far, they say business is good, their working relationship with the city is good-- and they cant wait to see what's next.

This is how the marina looked July of last year-- an empty lot and docks behind a fence-- now-- nearly a year later-- the slips house several boats-- 14 of the 16 docks are taken.

Jeremy Shiver co-owns Ship Shape Services. He says they do more than rent out the docks. They also repair boats-- and recently started paddleboarding rentals on the river.

"Moved a little bit faster than we expected it to, but then again, this area was ready for a marina," Shiver said.

Milton Mayor Guy Thompson says the city has a lot riding on this property. Nearly three years ago, the city bought the marina for about $525,000. $212,000 came from the city's share of the county's bed tax. And next year-- the city of Milton will make a final payment of about $275,000.

The lease agreement with Ship Shape Services gives the city a percentage of what the company makes, which has been about $400 to $1,000 a month.

City leaders expect that figure to grow and say it's shaping up to be a good investment.

"This is looking good, and it's going to look good. We're going to make it happen," Thompson said.

Especially now that a developer may open a restaurant on the marina property.

"It's so preliminary, they're thinking about it, they like the idea and they're looking at their options."

"I think it's a good thing, if we could have a restaurant out here that people could have to look out to the river, I think people would really like it."

And Thompson says it all fits into the larger plan to develop the riverfront and make Milton a destination. Mayor Thompson says he expects talks with the restaurant developer to pick up in the next few weeks.