Reservoir receives extra funding for improvements

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The $357,000 received this month from Washington, D.C., for Marion Reservoir sounds like a lot of money, but it’s only a small part of the original $6 million plan for upgrading the Cottonwood Point area.

Still, it will go a ways for beginning rennovations on what Terry Holt, park ranger, said has proven to be one of the higher usage recreation areas in the Tulsa District of the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

“Cottonwood Point is a very popular area,” he said.

Holt is compiling an e-mail list for coming public meetings to notify local patrons of the reservoir of the chance to come say what they would like to see happening at Cottonwood Point.

“We had one short public meeting the 16th just to see if we are on target with our constituents,” he said.

Holt said it is obvious to many Marion County businesses that tourism and recreation at the reservoir creates a high economic impact for them.

The money earmarked for Marion Reservoir needs to be used in the current fiscal year by September, Holt said.

“It looks like we may be doing Cottonwood Point piece by piece.”

He said a congressional add-on is money specifically targeted for a perceived need at a federal project. It isn’t necessarily part of an amendment to another bill.

A congressional add-on last year was used at Council Grove Reservoir to surface the road across the dam.

Holt said he and other workers at the reservoir, with input from local residents, are taking a long look at both the number and the quality of campsites at Cottonwood Point on the east side of the reservoir.

“We want to look at more modern restrooms, maybe bring them in prefabricated, for the existing sites,” he said. “Right now there are the outdoor-use types (privies), 10 sets, and they are not appealing to most people. They don’t serve the needs well.

“We’ll consider showers and dumping stations.

“People want better hookups for the bigger RVs and motor homes. We need water hookups for individual sites. We only have 30-amp electric hookups, and may go to 50 amps.

“There’s a lot of agreement that we need more facilities and an increase in number of campsites.

“We hesitate to do much more engineering because that takes dollars, and we need to get the most done for the money. We want to spend more for the actual improvements.

“Once we have some definite decisions, and know we’re on target, we’ll get rolling.”

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