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Heritage Harbor in Ottawa opening floating quarterdeck this spring

Heritage Harbor is unveiling a floating quarterdeck for its 2021 season, the first of its kind in La Salle County.

The floating quarterdeck, which is a term for the raised deck behind a ship’s mast, will house the facility’s marina office operations as well as a new ship store, similar to a convenience store. Boat rentals also will operate out of the floating building.

“The city of Ottawa – [city electrical inspector] Tim Aussem, in particular – was a pleasure to work with,” harbormaster Jeremy Fowler said. “This is the first time a building like this has been done in La Salle County, and most of the other floating buildings in the state are casinos. It’s very stringent, so there’s a lot of technicalities we have to go through.”

Fowler said much of the woodwork on the new quarterdeck was done by Nathan Weiss and the Ottawa Millwork Company.

“He’s done some of the woodwork in there, including the trip and the bar structure that we’re using as the service counter,” Fowler said. “We’re using a local craftsman, and that’s bringing light to what we’re trying to achieve with this building. It’s a unique place.”

The quarterdeck will have a patio on the back deck for people who want to sit and watch the boats go by. Heritage Harbor also is installing a fuel dock that can refuel up to three boats at a time. The facility is adding 30 new slips this year after it has run at capacity for the past few years.

The pandemic didn’t slow Heritage Harbor’s business down much, if at all.

Fowler said the harbor had to be careful at the beginning to make sure everyone was social distancing, but eventually, the lesson stuck, and now it’s rare for staff to have to remind people to keep their distance.

“We’ve got people out enjoying nature, and our restaurant always had outdoor dining,” Fowler said. “It helps that there’s no better way to social distance than being on a boat with the people who are already within your bubble.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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