December 5, 2012 | LXXII, No. 36

Port’s RV park hopes prove expensive

Port District 7 commissioners suffered a bit of sticker shock last Thursday when an RV project they plan for the Banks Lake Golf Course was projected to cost nearly $1.5 million.

The report was part of a feasibility study by USKH Engineering and presented by civil engineer Zak Sargent, of that firm.

Commissioners had projected that the RV park would provide needed revenue to help with operation expenses. Rates for parking an RV at the park ranged from $20 a night in the off season to $40 during the peak summer season.

The port commission had spent over $100,000 the past season to honor its pledge to keep the golf course open following the sudden closure of the Banks Lake Golf and Country Club, which had operated the course on port district land until last spring.

The port district budget for 2013, shows the district is entering the year with about $25,000 in the coffers, hardly enough to help finance the running of the course in 2013.

Commissioners discussed ways to cut the scope and cost of the RV park down during their meeting. This included cutting the number of RV spots to 22, rather than the 44 found in the initial layout of the project. The 14 tent sites were not discussed. The site plan is spread out over 6.5 acres where the driving range and first fairway are located.

In addition to cutting the number of pads to 22, commissioners discussed postponing construction of the shower and laundry building. Commissioner Jerry Birdwell proposed developing showers in the restrooms in the basement of the clubhouse. He said the ramp leading into the basement could be left open after hours to accomplish this.

Other modifications were discussed, but the $1.5 million price tag seemed far away.

Engineer Sargent told commissioners that, once started, the infrastructure needed to be completed.

In the summary of the report on its initial page, as if to add insult to injury, it is stated that a 20-percent contingency needs to be added to the project, which would bring the cost to $1.75 million. Of course that is just an estimate, before full engineering is done.

The port plans to use the feasibility study in funding discussions with Grant County’s Strategic Infrastructure Program (SIP) later this month.

Commissioners hope to have the RV park in place by May, 2013.

Meanwhile, commissioners are working to get the $7,500 feasibility schedule cost estimate down where it is manageable.

The port district budget projection, passed by commissioners Thursday, shows that golf course expenses for 2013 are projected to be about $100,000. They project receipts at about the same level.

The budget also shows that the port will ask the county SIP for some $317,300 for the project.

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