Dubuque businesses look forward to Mississippi River dipping below flood stage

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) -- After more than 80 days of the Mississippi River being above flood stage, Dubuque businesses are excited to see river levels are finally dropping.

The Port of Dubuque Marina sits empty on Monday, June 10th due to high river levels. (Allison Wong, KCRG)

The Port of Dubuque Marina hasn't had a boat in its docks yet this year due to the flood gates being closed.

"Once those open up, we get a lot of people that will come in here just for a few hours, or some come to us overnight or two nights," Facilities Supervisor Dan Kroger said. "Essentially, we're a hotel on water."

When the docks are empty, the marina doesn't make much money, but, it also means it's not spending money, either.

"If we're closed and we're not selling fuel, we're also not purchasing it. So it's kind of a give and take," Kroger explained.

The city of Dubuque subsidizes the marina each year. Kroger says the high water is actually saving the city money.

He said, "last year at this time we were around minus just over $60,000 for the total operating budget for both the marina and the docks. And currently, right now, we're at about a negative $30,000 dollars."

The river needs to get down to 17 feet and continue to drop for the gates to open, according to Kroger. As of Monday night, the river was at 18.5 feet, which is considered moderate flood stage. Kroger hopes the gates will open this Friday or Saturday.

Ryan Becker, President of Hawkeye Boat & RV Sales, was busy on Monday preparing his customers' boats for the river, after weeks of no one going out. His employees scrubbed boats clean and worked on stereo systems.

"We have people that are demanding they have their boats ready for the weekend," he said.

"We had a good preseason, but it got a little slower with the water being up for sure. But last week with the weather and the water conditions improving, it has picked up substantially," he added.

Becker and Kroger both believe it will be a busy weekend on the river.

Kroger said, "sounds like it’s going to be a fun weekend.”