Wednesday, November 08, 2006

RV park closing decision isn't an easy one

The Friends Creek Conservation Area, near Argenta, IL, undoubtedly is a beautiful area. And the small campground it has for recreational vehicles is faithfully enjoyed by a handful of campers.

The question facing the Macon County Conservation Board, however, is how many tax dollars should be placed into a recreational vehicle campground that isn't used anywhere near its capacity.

Board members decided to close the campground after learning that the electrical wiring needed to be replaced at a cost of $166,000. RV campers at the site balked, saying the board was closing a facility that was beautiful, safe and close to their homes.

Offers to reduce the cost of replacing the electrical wiring soon surfaced. A group of electricians said they would do the wiring for free if materials were supplied. Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, said he would seek a state grant to help keep the campground open.

But the campground issue appears to go deeper than the wiring. There are now indications that the board's decision was based at least partially on the cost of maintaining the campground and the relatively limited use it receives. Questions are now being asked about whether it's a wise use of taxpayer dollars to maintain a campground that isn't widely used.

That discussion also presents a dilemma for campground users. They like the campground in its current, uncrowded state. If the board improves the campground, they also will have to do a better job of promoting the campground, which will lead to more campers. Full Story...
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