Dock approvals moving along, but not fast enough for tournament

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comJune 24, 2013 

— The Carolina Show Ski Team is packing its bags and heading to Florida. The team hoped to be a little closer to home for the southern regional tournament, and may get the chance another time.

It just won’t be this year.

“We canceled the southern regional tournament back in February when we were sure the lease/insurance requirements were going to hold up the building of the docks,” said Russ Frase, team member for nearly two decades.

In fall 2011, the team applied for the right to host the tournament that will now be held this weekend on Tower Lake in Oldsmar, Fla. It was granted, pending approval of permanent platforms and a ski jump at Windjammer Park. Tega Cay City Council voted in October that year to support the team’s application.

But groups like Duke Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission still had to sign off on the plan.

In January, when the city approved a dock lease agreement with the team that would allow the structures, leaders were waiting on a federal decision.

“It’s in FERC’s hands at this point,” Charlie Funderburk, city manager, told Council Jan. 22.

The city last week amended the agreement after reaching lease terms with Duke. The change essentially says the ski team must meet all of Duke’s requirements for using the property and the Duke lease trumps any arrangement between the city and team. The move passed “unanimously and without comment,” Funderburk said.

The city has “done a fine job,” Frase said, of working with the team on the new structures. The timing just wasn’t quick enough between all parties involved to bring the regional tournament to Tega Cay. This year’s lineup includes four teams with dozens of members on each. The Carolina team has 40 members.

Frase said last week he’s still looking over the agreement details but hopes it’s “one more hurdle crossed.”

“Ultimately, I hope it means we will be building docks at Windjammer,” he said. “I have also thought this many times over the past four years.”

When completed, the docks would be available for public use when not in use by the ski team. Frase said the plan is to continue using temporary structures, which have to be pulled in by boat, “until we can get our ducks lined up with estimates, financing, etc.”

“We just need to get it to the finish line,” he said. “Then the work comes in getting funds, building and then (the ski team) operating in a manner that allows us to be performing for years to come.”

Along with this weekend’s tournament, the team has a host of local performances and events. There’s a new “family vacation” theme for this year and new costumes. They will perform July 4 at Windjammer, then twice July 5 on Lake Junaluska near Asheville, N.C. They’ve already been in a parade and barefoot event on Lake Norman this year, held a ski clinic and helped with a park cleanup.

The group has its show at 7 p.m. Fridays through Aug. 16 at Windjammer.

Becky Fox, board member with the group, hopes the resolution of the dock issue will allow the team to do even more. But, she said, it’s “more than just about our team.”

“It’s not just our team that will benefit,” she said. “We’re really interested in something lots of people can use. We want to create a venue where they can have access to the lake.”

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