10-11-2016 Meeting Minutes

Starke County Park Board Meeting 10/11/16

Roll Call – All members present

Minutes – Comments received on appendix. Motion to approve without Appendix A and Public Comments made by Chris Lawrence and seconded by Deb Mix. Motion carried.

Bass Lake Beach and Campground

Gazebo refurbishing – Starke County Planning Commission Permit 20160565 – Rose made a motion to proceed with the gazebo work and repair, Chris seconded and the motion carried.

Friends of the Park Organization – Most every park district has one. This can be done, but they are not asking.

Tim Dawgs Hot Dog Stand – Discussion about whether to finish or remove it. Roger prefers it be removed. It was noted no permit was issued to put it there. Chris made the motion, Deb seconded and the motion carried.

KIRPC – Nothing back yet. The board may want a special meeting if they come back with information in order to speed things up.

Next meeting – Due to Election Day the meeting will take place on November 15. This is a one-time only schedule change.

Public comments – See below

October 11, 2016 Stark County Park Board Meeting – Draft

Again, the Park Board (PB) should contrast the Bass Lake Beach Park Lease (L), the intent of the L with the actual Bass Lake Beach Park operation and the obligations associated with the “$5,000.00” annual rent.

To establish a first-class Starke County Public Beach, a “$5,000.00” rent was provided by the Starke County Commissioners (SCC) to help any potential lessee financially. They knew, time consuming work would be involved in bringing our Historic Beach and Campground up to expectations. The SCC & L therefore even provided a mechanism to reinvested the token $5,000.00 annual rent if used for improvements.

Following 9 years of the L with Callahan, LLC, we are entering year 10 of 10.

The First-Class Beach/Campground operation has been pretty much abandon; go on line and you will find it has a two star “Poor” rating. The Historic Beach House was even sited in June by the State of Indiana for health violations. Restroom pictures taken verify the citations indeed had merit.

Manpower requirements at the Campground however, turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The Campers, who are pretty much part of our great “American Working Class”, adopted it, taking care of it as they do while making a living. It has been turned into a well kept – low maintenance Campground Park. This seems positive and further enhancements should be embraced. Campground aside, the Beach remains neglected and in need of the PB’s focus.

Today, our Beach is far from First-Class and is considered by many to be in violation of the L terms and has become at odds with the $5,000.00 per year rent. Since the lessee has basically abandoned “Our Public Beach Park”, Starke County Taxpayers should no longer support the $5,000.00 rental fee. Most Bass Lake Property Owners would welcome the envisioned Public Beach Park; however, as long as it is ignored, a fair tax value on the 1,900 feet of Bass Lake Beach Park shoreline needs to be added to the current $5,000.00 yearly rent.

Lastly, the use of a consultant to address our Beach’s problems can be the path to First-Class. I hope many from our Starke County Community will become involved and relate their vision & goals for improvement. Our Starke County Bass Lake Public Beach & Campground can highlight the “Quality of Place” effort in our community.

November 15, 2016 Stark County Park Board Meeting – Draft 2 Bass Lake Beach and Campground going forward

Renewal or non-renewal of the Starke County/Callahan, LLC. Lease before May 2018 should be on every Park Board Meeting agenda until resolution. Agreement having been reached on hiring a consultant to help develop, complete & help implement a 5- year Park Board Plan seems pivotal to the future. Every meeting discussions on this subject can be good input & groundwork for the hired consultant. Therefore, ongoing Park Board meeting discussions on the beach future can only be helpful.

Going Forward – Beach and Campground

First, notify Callahan, LLC that Starke County does not anticipate renewal of the 10-year lease due to Lease default and non performance. Default items: This subject need to be included in Park Board Meetings and upcoming Consultant Open Forum meetings.

Second, the Park Board needs to start soliciting proposals from new potential lessees so alternatives management solutions are available for 2018. Management by Starke County itself seems a good alternative, this should be a strong consideration and may be best. Hire a Parks Manager. Starke County Management seemed the intent of the State of Indiana when they transferred Beach ownership: The property cannot be sold and must be maintained as a Public Beach and Campground. Wythogan park is an example of Starke County capabilities.

The Campground

Since the Campers, have adopted the campground. Embrace how positive this is – they are like an “Anchor Store” in a “Shopping Mall”. They have turned the Campground into a well kept – low maintenance Campground Park. This seems positive and further enhancements shou1d be embraced. Possibly offer the campers about the same deal they have now assuring access to the north 300 feet of beach for the “Marina”. This marina also seems a Starke County positive. Campground/Marina revenues could/can help development of our beach side park. Charging just $1,000.00 per year per campsite above costs would be a real help. There are/could be about 70 campsites or more.

The Starke County Bass Lake Beach

Financing of the Beach operation can include Campground campsite revenue plus future Beach Park revenue from new Beach businesses. This would include a first-class Beach Concession/Restaurant with on line website and menu’s partially catering to lake boating. With much of our Beach Lake shore line going unused in 2016, our beach lake frontage can embrace and accommodate many new business opportunities. This Beach Operation managed by Starke County can really embrace “Quality of Place”.

From the current lease: “Conduct the operation of public campground, public beach including such retail and service businesses as are normally conducted in such operations, for the sale at retail at any price of any and all services and merchandise normally associated with a public campground and beach.” Provide a fist-class Beach and Campground for Starke County. Continually maintain and improve the premise. The intent seems pretty clear – it envisions a wonderful beach park.