Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Local KOA Manager Not Happy About Custer State Park Upgrades

The face of the future is emerging at four state-owned resorts in Custer State Park as construction crews begin to hammer and saw their way into a multi-million-dollar renovation project.

The work eventually will include new water, electrical, heat and cooling systems, 33 new rooms at the historic State Game Lodge, 50 new camping cabins and the addition of electricity to 300 campsites.

Critics of the addition of camping cabins and electric campsites worry that the improvements will further blur the economic line between the park campgrounds and their private counterparts. Josh Daiss, general manager of the Mount Rushmore KOA, said the campground improvements in Custer State Park will move the park beyond traditional rustic camping and put it in more direct competition with private campgrounds that have offered more camping comforts.

That will hurt business and lower property values of the private operations, he said.

Daiss and several other campground owners or managers intend to meet Thursday with the Pennington County Commission, acting in its role as equalization board, to request a reduction in property taxes in anticipation of those lost values.
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