According to Explore the Village website, “DeSoto Marina is a full-service marina, owned and operated by the POA.” A variety of water toys are available for rent including a pontoon boat, paddleboards, canoe, kayaks, pedal boat, and CORCLs “These may be rented by the hour, half-day, or full-day. Staff at the marina also provide instructions for novices.”
“The Waypoint at DeSoto Marina offers specialty coffees, smoothies, and sandwiches which can be enjoyed on the deck overlooking the lake. Sunrise and sunset cruises are available in season. Here is a link to more information about TheWaypoint.”
DeSoto Beach is pea gravel and offers picnic tables and grills.
Discussing Improvements With Manager Terry Wiley
Recently there have been some nice improvements to the DeSoto Marina, Beach, and Waypoint, just in time to kickoff the Stars and Stripes Festival on July 2, 2021. Click here to read about this Festival.
We were lucky enough to be able to sit down and discuss some of these improvements with Terry Wiley, HSVPOA Parks and Recreation Division Manager. Wiley originally was introduced to the Village 25 years ago when he came to visit his parents. He said, “I [eventually] got the job I wanted 25 years ago.” Wiley’s career with the POA began three years ago.
Wiley, always with a friendly smile on his face, explained that he is over thirteen cost centers including the beaches, marinas, pickleball, fitness center, Woodlands Auditorium, the fountains, and the east and west gates. Wiley said, “we have a really good crew.”
The Board approved a $33,000 capital project in the Parks and Recreation Divison. This amount was in the 2021 budget. At this time, only a little more than half of these funds have been spent. The timing of this project coincided with the drawdown of Lake DeSoto, making sense to do this work now. Norman Meredith and Michael Bynaker were responsible for project oversight.
The improvements at DeSoto Beach, Marina, and Waypoint were primarily accomplished using POA employees with some work being contracted out. Wiley was the architect of these projects, which used a lot of repurposed wood. Additional steel was purchased and the POA crew did the welding.
Highlights of Improvements at DeSoto Marina/The Waypoint
- A fence was constructed, surrounding the grassy park area around the stage. Arkansas Beverage Commission (ABC) granted the POA a permit to allow the sale of beer and wine outdoors at this location. Previously, all alcohol sold at Waypoint had to remain inside. On July 2, 2021, at the Stars and Stripes kickoff, the POA will have live music and sell beer and wine in this fenced-in area. “In the past, you couldn’t buy a beer at The Waypoint and walk out the door,” explained Wiley.
- The second boat slip area at the DeSoto Marina was originally located under some trees and because it wasn’t covered, debris from the trees fell on the boats. Also, there was no electricity at this point and this location was secluded. Because of the seclusion and inability to install lights, this posed a security problem for boat owners storing their boats here. This shaded area has now been turned into a fishing pier.
- O’Neal Electric rewired the electricity in the Waypoint building. O’Neal also added string lighting in the park area.
- Riprap with evergreen shrubs interspersed now surrounds the stairs going down to the fishing dock.
- The two-tier deck at The Waypoint was stripped and refinished using contract help.
Wiley stated, “It was really a team effort between the outdoor recreation employees and the grounds crew. We think we really improved both DeSoto Beach and the DeSoto Marina.”
Improvements at DeSoto Beach
- Three of the boat slips from DeSoto Marina were moved to DeSoto Beach. These slips were placed on DeSoto Beach so boaters will have a better place to park instead of “running up on shore in the rocks.”
- DeSoto Beach seawall was increased by 50 feet.
- A railed stairway was constructed down to the water.
- There is also a new railed stairway down to the beach.
- There is a kayak launch area by the spillway.
Credit To the Hardworking POA Employees
These projects were accomplished with an overall team effort of staff. In addition to Wiley, the hardworking POA employees involved in the improvements were: Norman Meredith, Michael Bynaker, Chase Arthur, Carrie Avaraitt, Don Blackwell, Johnathan Salinas, Jimmy Dale Harper, Josh Wilmoth, Billy Joe Nooner Wilbanks, David Davies, Larry Rogers, and Jeannie Rocha.
Wiley enthused, “I am really proud of the team that we have. The work that they do on a day-to-day basis is really special. From taking care of the facilities and amenities to putting on great events for the Villagers. I could not ask for more. They make me look smarter than I am!”
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Click on the photo below to view the images and then click on the arrow to scroll through the slider.
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Cover photograph courtesy of Anne Shears.
Written by Cheryl Dowden – Photographs in slider are courtesy of Anne Shears and Joe Dowden
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