The port district took its first step last Thursday toward the development of a 48-space RV park at the Banks Lake Golf Course.
Commissioners gave the go-ahead to the USKH engineering firm of Spokane to do a $7,500 feasibility study of the proposed park.
Lisa Corcoran, associate project manager for the firm, outlined a view of what the RV park would look like.
Port District 7 Commissioner Stan Conklin said the project needs to, “be up and running by late April. This is what’s going to support the course.”
The port district has provided the deep pockets to keep the course open this year but has essentially run out of money. The pre-budget report for 2013, shows that the district has but $25,000 left.
It is estimated that the commissioners have spent more than $125,000 of district funds to keep the golf course open this year, and have declared that they intend to keep the course open next year. It is apparent that they are pinning their hopes for finances on the RV park project.
The RV park, if built, would be located on the course’s driving range and first fairway. The tee box for the first fairway would then shift to the old fairway for the first hole.
Chairman Orville Scharback told commissioners that the port district had letters from various campgrounds and inn operators who said they had no objection to the RV park. In fact, it was noted that they often have to turn people away because there is no room.
Corcoran told the commissioners Thursday that with their approval that evening, USKH would be able to develop the feasibility study within six weeks.
That study, along with support from the city of Electric City, will go a long way, commissioners hope, to convince Grant County’s Strategic Infrastructure Program advisory board to recommend a grant to get the RV park underway.
The development would call for paved pads, and water and sewer service development.
Commissioners plan to meet with Electric City’s planning commission and the council to see if they can get a variance on fencing requirements, at least on two sides, and also on other concessions, cutting the costs of the project significantly.
In USKH’s written letter to the port district, the firm stated: “Creating an RV park will bring economic opportunities to the Banks Lake Golf Course. However, it has to generate the income to make it not only self-sustaining but profit positive.”
Commissioners are relying on funds from memberships, open play, and the RV park to provide money to run the course next year.
After the phase-one feasibility study, and with favorable response on its hunt for grant funding, district commissioners hope to go into phase two, which would take the project through design and construction.
District officials couldn’t determine what the cost of development might be at this stage.