CONNEAUT — Winter weather is here, and with it, there are ice, waves and wind.
Steps have been taken to protect the harbor and the docks, Conneaut Harbormaster Denver Spieldenner said.
“We’ve made those repairs and we’ve taken steps to ensure that the docks are going to stay together this winter, but you can’t predict what Mother Nature’s going to throw out at you,” Spieldenner said.
“So next spring we’ll see where we’re at, and if we’ve got more damage, we’ll repair it,”
Pilings were driven into the north end of the lagoon to help protect docks from the elements, Spieldenner said.
“Hopefully we’ll see some good results from that,” he said.
Earlier this year, electricity had to be shut off to a section of the marina.
“We are reworking our electrical system in the Marina in front of the restaurant, that’s the Port Conneaut Marina. And so we’re going to waterproof that system, so no matter what happens, we’re still be OK,” Spieldenner said. “There will be power to those docks next year.”
The Conneaut Port Authority budgets money every year for dock repairs, which are common in the spring. This year, though, some dock repairs were needed in the fall, Spieldenner said.
Water levels reached record highs this year, and are still 27 inches above average. To cope with the water levels, the Port Authority had to construct raisers on their fixed docks to keep them above the surface of the water.
Because of the high water, the sandbar in the Conneaut Harbor was closed this year. The Port Authority hopes to open it again next year, but it is dependent on the water levels, Spieldenner said.
Gates have been shut at the top of the hills on the west side of the harbor. “We don’t want anybody driving down there in slippery conditions and ending up in the lake,” Spieldenner said.
Power has been shut off and water lines have been emptied.
“They’re doing a fine job down there getting it prepped up,” Port Authority President Wally Dunne said. “Denver has a very through checklist he runs down through for the winterization, and they’re working their way through that list.”
The high water levels have been disruptive for other entities. The city of Conneaut had to construct a $300,000 wall to protect the pumps that draw the city’s drinking water from Lake Erie.
Conneaut City Council scheduled an emergency meeting in July to authorize the project.