(PUEBLO, Colo.) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has agreed to turn over operations of the North Shore Marina at Lake Pueblo State Park to a Colorado Springs company while a long-term contract is negotiated, with a previous vendor according to CPW.

CPW says the O’Neil Group Company has temporarily taken control of the 700-slip marina. The agency has begun reaching out to boat owners who rented slips from the previous vendor.

CPW took possession of the marina on Nov. 1 after the previous vendor signed a settlement agreement turning over the business to the state agency. For months, CPW has been soliciting a new vendor to operate the marina for the next 20 years or so. The O’Neil Group Co. agreed to operate the marina on a nine-month contract, giving CPW and the previous vendor time to negotiate and sign a formal long-term contract.

Since acquiring the marina, CPW has invested more than $135,000 in its failing infrastructure. A key improvement was a patch to the electric wiring of a bubbler system. The system prevents ice from forming in the marina and allows boats to remain docked all winter, states CPW. The agency also performed emergency repairs to marina sewage pumps and its anchor system.

“Our hope is to work out a long-term operating contract with the O’Neil Group so work can begin to overhaul the marina facilities and restore it to a first-class facility,” said Joe Stadterman, Lake Pueblo Park Manager. “To show CPW’s commitment to the project, we invested in the facility to allow current renters to keep their boats in the marina all winter.”

According to CPW, the O’Neil Group is moving quickly and intends to reopen the marina store and sell fuel as soon as possible.

“We share CPW’s commitment to maintaining and upgrading the marina for the long-term use of the people of Southern Colorado and the state,” O’Neil said. “The CPW team has been highly responsive and we look forward to a great partnership with them in providing a first-class experience for the users.”

The O’Neil Group Co. is a real estate, business management and investment company founded in 2007 by Kevin O’Neil. O’Neil says he sees the marina as an opportunity to keep a vital part of keeping Southern Colorado healthy and growing economically.