John Day, Ore. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The Grant County Economic Council (GCEC) and the Grant County Chamber of Commerce in central Oregon are teaming up to establish a new day-use park in the town of John Day  to serve RVs and other large rigs coming into town, the Blue Mountain Eagle reported.

The goal is to spruce up a long-vacant lot in John Day and also provide a convenient spot for parking large rigs, so drivers can stop and shop in town.

D.R. Johnson Lumber Co. agreed to lease the lot to the Grant County Economic Council. The lot is on Highway 26 immediately east of McDonald’s restaurant.

The project includes:

  • Grading the lot to improve drainage and parking.
  • Adding a new entry and rebuilding an existing entry, making access easier. for RVs, motor homes and trucks.
  • Creating a picnic area.
  • Installing an information kiosk, including an easy-to-read map to guide travelers to local businesses and services.
  • Establishing a retention pond to catch and store storm runoff.

Bruce Ward, local contractor and GCEC board member, is leading the effort and has already begun improvements to the lot, with the assistance of John Marciel Construction and Ferguson Surveying.

Ward estimates the local economy could benefit from an additional $30,000 a month in direct visitor spending because large rigs will have an easy place to stop. This equals a total economic impact in Grant County of $150,000 a month.

“The D.R. Johnson Day Use Park will potentially create a positive economic impact and capture dollars from visitors in RVs and large rigs that are currently driving right through Grant County,” said Sharon Mogg, chamber executive director.

The groups have launched a $10,000 fund-drive to finance the work. A major state foundation has agreed to provide an additional $5,000 for the project if the community raises the $10,000. The economic council has advanced $2,500 toward the project and also obtained a $2,000 grant from the Grant County Transient Room Tax Committee.

The council and the chamber want to raise a fourth of the goal – $2,500 – before the end of the year to complete the next phase of work. Hitting that goal would take just 50 contributions of $50. Individuals and businesses can make tax-deductible donations via checks to either GCEC or the Chamber.

The tourism project is a joint effort of the Economic Council and the Chamber of Commerce to strengthen the Grant County economy. To participate in this or other projects or for more information, contact Mogg at (541) 575-0547 or Economic Council president Les Zaitz at (541) 421-3031.