City officials in Tomahawk, Wis., hope revenue generated from an expansion of the campground at SARA Park will help fund the city’s park system.
The city has had to get creative in the past few years with its parks funding, said Director of Public Works Mike Tolvstad, and more campsites with more amenities could bring in money to make improvements to existing parks and recreational programs, the Wausau Daily Herald reported.
Right now, the park has 10 rustic campsites, which means they have no electricity or running water. Tolvstad said the ultimate goal is to have about 100 sites with amenities in the next decade. The campground would be built in the existing 3 1/2-acre dog park, which would be relocated to a site yet to be determined.
Tolvstad said the 100 campsites would come in three phases. The first would include between 25 and 30 improved campsites, which would be finished by Aug. 1, in time for the annual antique boat show and the Fall Ride, two of Tomahawk’s biggest events. Construction of the first phase will cost about $400,000.
The first phase will go through a trial period of about two years, so the city can gauge the success of the program and decide whether to continue with the second and third phases. The earliest the second phase would be completed would be 2015, Tolvstad said.
The city had also looked at putting a campground in Bradley Park, a few blocks south of SARA Park, but opposition from residents caused city officials to nix that idea, said Don Nelson, chairman of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission. They have received much better feedback on the idea of improving and expanding SARA Park’s existing campground.
Nelson said he expects to have an estimate of how much money the campsites could generate within the next month; rates will be based on the state average for campsite fees, which is about $20 per night, according to the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners (WACO). Nelson said he has high hopes for the project and thinks it could benefit more than just Tomahawk.
“This is going to really help the community,” he said, “and when that happens, it spreads throughout the region.”
The proposal will be included in the city’s 2013 budget plan, which the Tomahawk City Council will vote on in the next few months. If approved, construction would begin in the spring.