Boats Pulled Out Of Lake Delhi; Auction Set Next Month

By Dave DeWitte, The Gazette

Rusty Peck spent Wednesday pulling stranded boats from what had been Lake Delhi.

Peck has organized a boat auction for Sept. 12 at his Lake Delhi Marina & RV on Highway 13 in Delaware County after being contacted by lake residents who wanted to sell their watercraft.

"Anybody that has a boat or anything else they want to sell will be allowed to put it in the auction, as long as they were affected by the flood," Peck said.

Peck says he may have to put a cap on the size of the auction because of all the potential demand.

The Lake Delhi Recreation Association alone has over 900 members, and many have more than one boat.

Randy Pilkington of Waterloo said he plans to sell his family's pontoon boat and runabout at the Sept. 12 auction, if he can get a fair price.

Although he managed to get the vessels safely out of the lake before the Lake Delhi Dam burst on July 24, Pilkington can't run them on the narrow Maquoketa River channel that remains of the drained lake, and he isn't interested in trailering the boats to another lake.

It was a simple business decision, explained Pilkington, director of business and community services at the University of Northern Iowa.

He doesn't know when Lake Delhi's dam will be restored. Storing and maintaining the boats would cost him over a thousand dollars a year.

"They're paid for, but they aren't doing anything right now," Pilkington said.

The decision was upsetting to Pilkington's children, who have enjoyed boating during the eight years they've had a cabin at the lake.

He assures them the family will buy a new boat when the dam is rebuilt.
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