As in past years, those charged with overseeing the recreational opportunities for residents tried to enlarge and improve their impact in 2001.
Marion Reservoir experienced a decline in the number of visitor days that were recorded for 2001, but proposed a major expansion and modernization project that could greatly impact the number of visitors in the future.
Park Ranger Terry Holt said the reservoir drew a little less than 300,000 people last year-down from the previous year’s 494,000.
“I think we had a typical year,” Holt said. “The weekends and weekdays were really busy.”
In the aftermath of a fish kill at the reservoir during summer 2000, the white bass population was down drastically, but Holt said he believes fishermen will see a definite increase in the numbers again this spring and fall.
“(Fishing) always has an impact on our numbers,” Holt said. “It gives us a good-to-excellent turnout each year. We have a high competition for campsites.”
In early 2001, Holt and his staff released a proposal for a $4.2 million modernization plan for Cottonwood Point. Currently, the park is able to handle only 30 percent of the demand for campsites at the park.
Early in 2002, Col. Robert L. Suthard Jr. told local representatives the ambitious plan likely would not receive funding this fiscal year because of maintenance work that needed to be done on various parks in the Tulsa District.
The plan will remain on the shelf for future consideration. In the meantime, some legislation is being written that will at least return park fees to the park that collects them. In the case of Marion Reservoir, that would have meant about $142,000 in revenue in 2001. Currently, the practice is to send the money to central fund in Washington, D.C.
In 2001, Holt said he and his staff rehabilitated 12 campsites at Cottonwood Point and supported several volunteer programs throughout the year, including a deer hunt for people with special needs that drew close to 800 people.
Hillsboro Cove will be a focus for improvements in 2002, according to Holt.
“We’re trying to improve the entrance and exit to Hillsboro Cove,” Holt said. “We want to make the gate shack and the entrance and exit safer to the public and our employees. We’re also trying to improve beach access at Hillsboro Cove.”
Holt said they will also repair some shorelines around campsites in 2002.
After making several changes to the the Hillsboro Municipal Golf Course in 2000, Carl Long, president of the Hillsboro Golf Association, said the association concentrated in 2001 on the club house.
“We didn’t do a lot to the course this past year,” Long said. “But we did some things to the club house. We added some lights and some new windows.
“We also planted some new maple trees and some scotch pine trees out on the course.”
The HGA purchased a new greens mower in 2001 as well.
According to Long, the grounds-keeper is cleaning out some of the creek beds between holes two and three.
“We’re working on cleaning out the creek because it’s been eroding and been eating away at the fairways. We want to clean and dress the area up with some rock and riff-raff.”
Last year, the memberships and green fees revenue stayed consistent from 2000, according to Long.
“We currently have 157 members,” Long said. “It seems to be growing a little bit every year. When I first got here about 10 year ago, our membership was under 100. We’ve gained 50 to 60 members and it’s been fairly steady for the past three years.
“Our green fee receipts remained about the same, but our membership dollars have been going up about $1,000.”
According to Long, the association has noticed an increase in out-of-town golfers.
“We see a lot more out-of-town players,” Long said. “As far away as Wichita and Salina. We attracted people from all over. I think Hillsboro can be proud of its golf course.”
The Hillsboro Historical Society and Museum Board continues to make strides in showcasing the Heritage Complex attractions of the Adobe House, Friesen Mill and Kreutziger School.
Peggy Goertzen, a member of the Historical Society, said work continues on developing the Werderhaus, a replica of the house/barn that was common to Mennonites living in Poland. If the necessary funds can be raised to build it, the Werderhaus would be used as a visitors’ center.
The 2001 Hillsboro Folk Festival, held May 25, celebrated the 125th anniversary of the construction of the Hillsboro Adobe House.
The festival, located on the Heritage Complex and the Marion County Fairgrounds, featured several activities, including a classic car show, an antique tractor display, a quilting demonstration, games for children and music.
The Hillsboro Scout House was filled with the aroma of zwiebach, green bean soup, bierrocks, German sausage sandwiches, pies, cinnamon rolls, tea and coffee.
Arts & Crafts Fair
The national tragedy that occurred Sept. 11 in New York City and Washington, D.C., is believed to be the reason attendance at the 2001 Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair was down from the past few years.
Prior to the fair, which was held only four days after the attack, no one could predict how the events of Sept. 11 would affect it. Attendance in the morning was down, but picked up as the day went on.
Planners estimated that by the end of the day, more than 35,000 people had attended-down from the previous year’s record of 50,000, but still enough to deem the fair a success.
In a major departure from tradition, organizers decided late last year change their policy to allow vendors to begin setting up on Friday night instead of making them wait until the wee hours of Saturday morning.
Marion County Fair
The 2001 Marion County Fair attracted around 10,000 people, organizers estimated.
The show featured “Two For the Show,” a group from Omaha, Neb., that performed comedy, country music and music from the 1950s and 1960s.
The annual demolition derby brought in more than 3,000 spectators and continues to be a leading gate attraction.
The Marion County Fair Board is working on different ways to promote the fair for 2002 to help attract more fairgoers.
The Hillsboro Recreation Commission again assumed leadership for planning activities for local residents during 2001.
Recreation director Lonnie Isaac organized several summer programs, such as softball and baseball. for youths and adults.
The Hillsboro City Council approved the construction of a 30x44x9 open picnic shelter at the Sports Complex. The shelter was completed late in 2001.