The Fourth of July is always a busy time in Mitchell County Parks. Even during an extremely wet year people are piling into the parks. After offing seasonal and monthly camping rates for the past two camping seasons, it seems people are really taking advantage of these options this year. Mitchell County Conservation Board (MCCB) only allows long-term camping options for a few select spaces in each park to ensure spots will be available to locals. Many of our long-term campers are folks who have come to work on the windmills or the ethanol plant. If you are interested in seasonal or long-term camping please call our office.
Questions continue to surface about why Riverside Park has been closed in Stacyville all season and when the renovations will begin. Some of you may have noticed it has been an extremely wet spring and realize that slows down everything regarding construction; others see an empty park and wonder why it is not being utilized.
There are several reasons MCCB decided to close the park for the season. One is so few people have been utilizing the park over the past few years it has been a burden on our budget. To open and maintain Riverside Park costs over $10,000 per year. On the flip side, the park only generates about $5,000 in revenue annually. We thought it would be better to save the extra dollars this year and put them towards the renovation costs.
We also hoped construction would begin immediately this spring but, have hit a speedbump or two along the way, including the wet weather. One of the last minute additions to the plan was to get a cost estimate for full sewer hookups for each of the new designated camping sites will be installed. If this option were to be selected, we first had to have an engineering firm configure a design; which required surveys, various tests, and cooperation with the city of Stacyville. We had to wait to do any dirt work until the board had a chance to decide on the sewer option as it is the first item to be installed.
At our June meeting, the Board decided to add a sewer option to the bid package, which is currently being developed by WHKS engineers of Mason City and MCCB. This is a slow process and requires careful attention to detail to ensure all contractors are bidding the same items and specifications down to the last screw.
Currently, MCCB has shut off and removed the camping pedestals and will begin moving dirt as soon as we have a final design, bid package, and permits. Yes, unfortunately this means there will be no camping for the annual Brat Daze this year. We ask that park users be patient with us as we move through this process and know that we are committed to providing the best possible park as soon as possible.
Halvorson Park is now completely open including the new shower house facility. All other County Parks are open and ready for use as well.