The walkways and installations … heavy off the shelf building | price point USD 278 per SF | weight 185 pound per SF |
New marina on Powell top-notch
By TODD GLASENAPP
Sun Correspondent Jun 6, 2007
PAGE — Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. will be greeted by familiar native music when he arrives at Antelope Point on Lake Powell today for grand opening exercises.
The sight of more than 100 houseboat slips, a store and restaurant atop the world’s largest floating platform and dozens of Navajo workers should also be music to his ears.
The concept of facilities at Antelope Point has been 37 years in the making, beginning with the Navajo Nation-backed 1970 Quadrilateral Agreement. But 29 years passed before Navajo Route 22B was improved and a public launch ramp was built at Antelope Point.
The peninsula near the Navajo Generating Station east of Page now bustles with activity. A group headed by Jerry Moyes, part-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes and founder of $2.6-billion Swift Transportation, has sunk an $80 million investment into Antelope Point.
Antelope Point Holdings, LLC, plans to celebrate completion of the marina and Marina Village with a three-day grand opening beginning today. The program concludes with a daylong community event Saturday with Navajo cultural entertainment, live music, houseboat tours and fireworks.
“It’s been quite interesting to have been involved from an early stage, to see it get developed,” said Chrystal Schoppmann, a spokesperson for the 225-employee Antelope Point Holdings.
“The biggest gratification came this Memorial weekend,” she said. “My husband and I went out there and actually watched it perform like a marina. It was amazing. To see the number of people in the channel and on the docks and in the restaurant area, it was very gratifying.”
CASINO ADDITION IN LIMBO
Schoppmann’s husband, general manager John Schoppmann Jr., has a geneology to match the project. One of his great uncles was Art Greene, a former river runner who founded Wahweap Lodge on Lake Powell west of Page in 1966.
“It’s in John’s blood,” said Chrystal Schoppmann, who went to work for Antelope Point Holdings as projects specialist and risk manager in 2005.
The facility is one of the area’s fastest-growing industries. Below the 3,720-foot elevation mark, on water-based properties governed by the National Park Service, 55 percent of the staff is Native American. Above that line on Navajo land, 72 percent is Native on the Navajo Nation’s hiring preference.
Mike Anderson, a Navajo from Kaibeto and former Page Justice Court judge, is assistant general manager.
Anderson now works from temporary quarters near the neatly designed brick turnaround area at the top of a ramp served by golf cart shuttles. Last summer Anderson spoke of plans to build a 225-casita resort hotel atop a nearby hill overlooking the lake.
The corporation has not set a timetable to build the hotel, but Schoppmann acknowledged that LeChee Chapter approval of a casino for Antelope Point could accelerate plans. So far chapter members have opposed Shirley’s proposal for a casino at Antelope Point.
The marina began to take shape in 2004 with the private houseboat slips and fuel dock. The private slips now number 90, with another 52 coming in by August toward a total buildout of 300. The floating platform was assembled last year and opened this spring. It measures 27,000 square-feet, weighs 5 million pounds and cost $7.5 million.
Unlike most floating stores and restaurants, the only rocking objects are the lights, and that is from the blowing of the air conditioner. A snack bar in the restaurant is named “Gramma Betty’s,” after a favorite relative of Moyes. Another indication of Moyes’ presence is his “Big Dog,” the 75-foot luxury houseboat prominently docked in a private slip.
The overall approach is first class, said Marty Ricks of Springville, Utah, a recent visitor to the marina.
“It’s amazing. It’s beautiful,” Ricks said. “I was just in the bathroom, and it had Venetian plaster and slate on the walls, hardwood doors on the stalls. I was very impressed.”
Everywhere are signs to support Ricks’ impression. The Marina Village is located at water’s edge, and fountains are being installed to drown out the sound of passing boat engines.
Near the marina store is a rental fleet of 59 watercraft. No rental houseboats are kept after they become 7 years old, and the fleet includes hot tubs and a 75-footer that meets provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, with a wheelchair lift near the stern and a chairlift along a bed. The $750,000 boat features cabinetry that was handcrafted by an Amish woodworker. The rental fleet also includes 10 new jet skis.
Details in agreement with Native American culture are present. The marina store and restaurant face east, and a skylight in the entryway was designed to represent the hole in the roof of a hogan.
A second launch ramp has been built to serve the private customers, and its angle permits safe launching at low water levels. The marina has been drought-proofed because it rests atop the water and does not need to be manipulated. Antelope Point also is located on the main channel of Lake Powell, with water depth of more than 400 feet.
The corporation also plans to complete on-site water and sewer treatment facilities. Sewage had been transported to Page’s wastewater treatment plant and more recently to a location in Fredonia.
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