Requesting Corp Suspend Water Release – Pleas fall on deaf ears.

February 18, 2010

We continue to, respectfully, seek cooperation from the Corp of Engineers. Specifically, we need them to suspend the release of water until we can repair our docks. At the current rate, our docks will be on the bottom within a matter of days and we will be unable to repair them.  We are not asking them to permanently stop the release but rather asking for a temporary break.  We welcome your comments, feedback and support as we work through this difficult time.

From: dennis@sullivanmarina.com
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 14:12:38
To: Busse, David R MVS<David.R.Busse@usace.army.mil>
Subject: Re: G-H docks and 15 trapped houseboats

Thanks for responding so promptly. While it is true that I have been in contact with the Water Control  Office on water levels forcasts, the only response has come Ricky Raymond the Project Manager.

I realize that the drawdown has lessened recently, but I also realize that our docks are within 2.5′ of being aground. All things being equal, iit appears we should be aground in 5 days.

If the Water Control Plan is successful, we will be denied the oppurtunity to repair the docks until well after all the marinas opening date of April 1. It is interesting that the old Water Control Plan called for the pool to be allowed to rise starting March 1, until reaching summer pool in April.

It does not seem equitable that the concessionaires and their customers should have certain losses to guarantee downstream folks that they will have no losses.

Respectfully
Dennis Fayhee

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

—–Original Message—–
From: “Busse, David R MVS” <David.R.Busse@usace.army.mil>
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 07:26:50
To: Dennis Fayhee<dennis@sullivanmarina.com>
Cc: Stemler, Joan M MVS<Joan.M.Stemler@usace.army.mil>; Houlihan, Bill (Durbin)<Bill_Houlihan@durbin.senate.gov>; <mccarter51@att.net>; <bobflider@repflider.com>; Raymond, Ricky D MVS<Ricky.D.Raymond@usace.army.mil>
Subject: RE: G-H docks and 15 trapped houseboats

Dennis:

I will double check but I have been under the impression that you have
discussed this request with the Water Control Office numerous times.  I will
have someone call you and give definitive answer today.  What I do know is
that they have been cutting back the outflow and plan to continue assuming no
additional rainfall events.  It would appear that the discharge is half of
what it was  less than a week ago.

Email Stream with Corp of Engineers or Why We’re Requesting Marina Relocation to Eagle Creek

February 11, 2010

This is an email stream of communication between Dennis Fayhee of Sullivan Marina and the Corp of Engineers requesting cooperation and assistance in dealing with the slip and boat damage being sustained due to the rapid release of water from Lake Shelbyville.

From:  “Busse, David R MVS” <David.R.Busse@usace.army.mil>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2010 16:42:14 -0600
To: <dennis@sullivanmarina.com>; Stemler, Joan M MVS<Joan.M.Stemler@usace.army.mil>
Subject: Re: G-H docks and 15 trapped houseboats

Dennis:

I really out of the loop on current conditions.  I’m forwarding to Joan as she is the expert.

Dave

—– Original Message —–
From: Dennis Fayhee <dennis@sullivanmarina.com>
To: Busse, David R MVS
Sent: Wed Feb 10 16:23:37 2010
Subject: FW: G-H docks and 15 trapped houseboats

Dave

I had called you before I received the message below from Ricky Raymond and then a phone call from a stranded slip renter Rob Byers.

Isn’t there a better way to work through this?  It seems unreasonable to knowingly cause damage to our docks, Eagle Creeks docks and place slip-renters houseboats in jeopardy when no immediate benefits are being achieved by the immediate, rapid drawdown.  It would seem reasonable to me that the drawdown be suspended for a couple weeks while we are at summer pool, 600′, to allow us access to the docks.

The fact that we were at 616′ in December and sustained the damage as a result of being that high and 50 mile an hour winds, is not something that we had any control over.  We obviously cannot control the fact that the lake froze shortly after the winds and remains so.

Surely, the safety of the publics’ property and ours should have some consideration in the decision making.  Please see if something can’t be done and let me know, either way.

Respectfully yours,

Dennis Fayhee

—–Original Message—–
From: Dennis Fayhee [mailto:dennis@sullivanmarina.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 2:34 PM
To: ‘rbyers@vlgoedecke.com’
Cc: ‘Houlihan, Bill (Durbin)'; ‘drighter@consolidated.net';
‘bobflider@repflider.com'; ‘mccarter51@att.net’
Subject: FW: G-H docks and 15 trapped houseboats

Rob Byers

I am forwarding this email chain, depicting the situation with our docks and your boat, in an effort to inform you of our efforts to remedy the situation that we all are in.   If you will read from the bottom up, you will see that we have repeatedly requested cooperation and assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers.  We have described that lowering the water is causing ongoing damage to the docks and placing your (and others) boats at risk.  We have
explained that access to the docks at present is impossible due to ice surrounding the marina.  We have further stated that it will be impossible to repair the docks and retrieve the trapped boats if we are at winter pool that places the docks aground.

You can see below that the response indicates that the Water Control Plan is on automatic control and can/will not be altered to allow for the ice to melt, allowing access to repair.

We are making every possible effort to correct the situation but, frankly we have no ability to force any change in the water control plan.  The Army Corps of Engineers reserves the right to manipulate the water in any manner they choose, with no recourse.  I apologize for not being able to give you a more definitive answer but as you can see below, it is impossible given the ACOE response.

Dennis Fayhee

—–Original Message—–
From: Raymond, Ricky D MVS [mailto:Ricky.D.Raymond@usace.army.mil]
Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 8:01 AM
To: Dennis Fayhee
Cc: Stemler, Joan M MVS; Busse, David R MVS; Shafer, Maria T MVS
Subject: RE: G-H docks and 15 trapped houseboats

Your request to stop the winter draw down at Lake Shelbyville has been reviewed. As you noted in your email, current weather forecast for the area indicate temperatures remaining below freezing for the next week and
possibly longer. Delaying drawdown for an indefinite period of time would be inconsistent with the authorized Lake Shelbyville’s Water Control Plan. There is no way to accurately predict ice melt, and extended delay could
impair the necessary flood control capacity for which Lake Shelbyville is authorized.”   The current lake level is approximately 601.07 with the lake forecasted to reach winter pool on or near March 1 without significant precipitation.

Ricky Raymond
Operations Project Manager
Lake Shelbyville
PH: 217-774-3951
FAX: 217-774-2014
Email: Ricky.D.Raymond@us.army.mil

—–Original Message—–
From: Dennis Fayhee [mailto:dennis@sullivanmarina.com]
Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 3:08 PM
To: Raymond, Ricky D MVS
Cc: Stemler, Joan M MVS; Busse, David R MVS
Subject: RE: G-H docks and 15 trapped houseboats

Thank you for your prompt reply.  The lake has to allow us to access the marina by water which requires the lake to be free of ice.  We have constructed a work barge complete with hydraulic boom to attempt to remove broken anchors (spuds), move dock and reset anchors.  We have no idea when the weather is predicted to allow access to the docks, consequently the timing is predicated on a warmer climate than predicted over the next week. The docks break further with each lowering of the lake.  The docks require enough water to float the docks off the bottom or they can not be moved. If we find that we have to disconnect the electricity to move the docks, we need to know that the bubblers will not be needed. The best scenario would be to stop the drawdown until the lake is free of ice and not forecast to reoccur. If that were to occur, we would hope that we could move the docks, reset anchors and move boats in about a weeks time.  As there appears to be significant damage below the water and therefore it is impossible to accurately predict how much water is necessary to move docks.

Dennis

—–Original Message—–
From: Raymond, Ricky D MVS [mailto:Ricky.D.Raymond@usace.army.mil]
Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 2:40 PM
To: Dennis Fayhee; Stemler, Joan M MVS; Busse, David R MVS
Cc: Shafer, Maria T MVS; Kosel, Anne L MVS
Subject: RE: G-H docks and 15 trapped houseboats

The following information is needed for review. What is your plan of action? What conditions (lake/weather/etc) are required to execute the plan? What is the estimated timetable for beginning and completing the work necessary to retrieve the vessels and secure your facilities?

Ricky Raymond
Operations Project Manager
Lake Shelbyville
PH: 217-774-3951
FAX: 217-774-2014
Email: Ricky.D.Raymond@us.army.mil

—–Original Message—–
From: Dennis Fayhee [mailto:dennis@sullivanmarina.com]
Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 12:28 PM
To: Raymond, Ricky D MVS; Stemler, Joan M MVS; Busse, David R MVS
Subject: FW: G-H docks and 15 trapped houseboats

Ricky

Has there been any decision made as to the possibility of assisting us in any or all of the ways listed below?  As you are aware the lake level is approximately 602″ elevation and receding at approximately one half foot aday.  If a deviation is not granted we are certain to continue sustaining further and more severe damages to the docks.  If the docks are sitting on the bottom as a result of reaching winter pool it will be impossible to move the docks and therefore the slip renters will not be able to remove their trapped boats.

The waters surrounding the marina are still frozen and the launch area is blocked by the docks.  It is imperative that you realize that while your pictures indicate damage that occurred due to water levels of 17′ above summer pool in December and 50 mile an hour winds, they do not depict the further damage that is ongoing as a result of the water drawdown.  The substantial damage that is certain to  increase from the rapid drawdown is also beyond our control and therefore is not something we can correct without cooperation.

Please inform us of your decisions either way.

Dennis Fayhee

________________________________

From: Dennis Fayhee [mailto:dennis@sullivanmarina.com]
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 12:31 PM
To: ‘ricky.d.raymond@usace.army.mil'; ‘Stemler, Joan M MVS'; ‘Busse, David R
MVS’
Subject: FW: G-H docks and 15 trapped houseboats

Ricky

Thank you for sending Ashley up to take pictures of the condition of the damaged docks and the trapped boats on January 16th.  The ice conditions surrounding the marina began to melt prior to today.  Given the forecast of lows in the teens for the next week or so and the water releases remaining the same, our ability to take immediate action is virtually impossible without assistance from the ACOE.  Short term help would be to minimize any further drawdown until such time that we can access the docks from the water that is now blocked by ice.

We are in the process of building a means of possibly removing spuds that prevent the docks from going down with the water, thereby assuring further destruction of the docks and seriously jeopardizing the safety of the slip renters boats.  We believe that both are preventable but only if we can secure immediate cooperation from water control and assistance from the ACOE.

Please inform me of your ability to assist us. Time is of the essence!

Thanks

Dennis Fayhee

________________________________

From: Dennis Fayhee [mailto:dennis@sullivanmarina.com]
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2010 4:25 PM
To: ‘ricky.d.raymond@usace.army.mil’
Subject: FW: G-H docks and 15 trapped houseboats

Ricky

This is going to happen almost immediately.  If there was ever a reason for the Corps to bring the needed equipment to help with a disaster, this is it. I don’t know if you can but if will come see what I am describing, I believe you will see that I have not exaggerated the urgency.

Thanks

Dennis Fayhee

________________________________

From: Dennis Fayhee [mailto:dennis@sullivanmarina.com]
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2010 4:18 PM
To: ‘Busse, David R MVS'; ‘Stemler, Joan M MVS’
Subject: G-H docks and 15 trapped houseboats

I am sending this email to describe the situation that exists in our marina at the moment, what appears imminent, and what our intentions are.

1.      The anchoring spuds broke or were drug due to the high water levels in December coupled with sustained 50+ mile an hour winds.  The South end of the G-H dock is pushing against J-K dock that is located approximately 100′ East of where G-H dock was anchored.  There are 15 houseboats trapped between the two docks.  In the interests of the slip renters, we have tried to reset anchor spuds and left the dock in place so that electric was operable.  We felt, that the bubblers operating and the bilge pumps operating was the best way for us to protect the boats from harm.
2.      Our Marina is the only open water in sight.  Our launch will not be usable until approximately 602′ elevation or 8′ lower, consequently the boats can not be retrieved.  The boats can not go down the lake from our marina due to the ice.  It is my understanding that Findlay does not have any room, if they can get under the bridges.
3.      The docks are breaking up to the point that we have no choice but to disconnect the dock and electricity, in order to try to move the dock and free the boats.  This is happening due to anchor spuds standing at approximately a 40 degree angle with a tremendous force. I believe that we have to cut anchors loose in order to move the dock.  In other words the docks can not go down with the lake, which is dropping ½’ a day.
4.      We have some slips that we can temporarily move most of the boats but the slips are not as big as the boats.  The larger slips are on the East side of J-K dock and will be in danger of moving ice damaging their boat.
5.      We need help from the Corps if we are to protect the boats until conditions allow the relocation of the same.
6.

Dennis Fayhee

Sullivan Marina and Campground LLC.

Time for Change

February 9, 2010

After nearly eight months, the bidding process for Eagle Creek Resort has come to a close.  In all, there were five bidders reported, of which we, Sullivan Marina & Campground, LLC, were one.  We spent considerable time and money putting our bid together and are hopeful that it will be considered for the award.

Many of you know us as the owners of Sullivan Marina & Campground, Dennis and Elaine Fayhee.  Many of you have camped at our grounds, enjoyed our marina and/or enjoyed time with friends at Skeeters, our water-front restaurant.  From the time we were awarded the lease, in 1995, to the present, we have built our business with the concept of creating a destination vacation spot for our customers, many of whom travel from the Chicago area and beyond to spend their summer with us. 

Throughout the many years of our lease, as many of you know, the location for our marina, as designated by the Corp of Engineers, has been problematic.  The dramatic fluctuation of water levels, part of the Corps flood control plan to protect farmground below the lake, has created an ongoing and extremely expensive situation — one which MUST be rectified if we are to continue to operate successfully. We have submitted a bid for Eagle Creek in the hopes that we will be allowed to relocate, at least a portion of our marina, to Eagle Creek, a location more conducive to safe and consistent operation for us as well as our slip renters.

According the News Gazette article, several of the bids received were just for the golf course, the idea being that the Hotel, marina and resort would be torn down.  We believe this plan would be devastating for the entire Lake Shelbyville area. At the same time, we believe that the previous business model simply won’t work and, in our mind, a new vision and new business model must be considered.

Click here to read more about the bids from a recent News Gazette article.

Eagle Creek Resort is a state-owned property.  As an Illinois citizen, and current or prospective vacationer at Lake Shelbyville, the outcome of who and when the bid is awarded will affect you. We have started this blog as a way to give voice to those who would like to share their thoughts, comments and concerns.  If you care about the future of Eagle Creek and Lake Shelbyville, please take a moment to post your comment. We will use this blog in the coming days to update you on activities and events that may affect the outcome of Eagle Creek.

Thank you!


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