The newly rebuilt heated dock at Marion County Lake is now completed and officially open to the public.
Marion County Park and Lake Superintendent Isaac Hett, gave a department update at the weekly commission meeting on Monday where he informed the commissioners that the heated dock has been completed, officially opened and community members are enjoying it.
“There are still a few things that need to be completed, but it’s been a real good thing that it’s opened. There’s been really good and mostly positive feedback,” said Hett.
Hett told commissioners that he has spoken with the insurance company and turned everything they needed over to them so they should send a check before long. The dock was damaged in storms last year.
Hett gave an expense and revenue report from the middle of May to the end of the year to the board which showed that the department ended up making a profit thanks to the newly updated tackle store the lake has been running.
“The only month we were negative was the month of May which is when we purchased our new equipment,” said Hett. “It’s still a work in progress. We’ve been switching things out and changing things. It’s slow this time of year, but now that the dock is open, business has increased tremendously.”
Hett said he has gotten a lot of positive feedback on the store and hears often how much people appreciate having it available.
The board also expressed appreciation in Hett’s work on the store and the profit since they had only hoped to break even the first year.
“And we didn’t even open until after the 4th of July weekend so we missed the big months of May and June and still did well. I was pleased with how the year went,” said Hett.
The board and Hett discussed raising camping site fees.
“We talked about this briefly last year. I think a lot of people come to our park because it is cheaper than it is out at state places. I think our prices for our primitive spots where people just throw a tent up are fine, but maybe our nicer hook-up spots could be a higher price. There is a fine line with that though. We want people to come here and feel like the prices are right. Some of the places up near Kansas City are like $25 per night and we are $14. Many of the smaller lakes like us are between $16 and $20,” said Hett.
Commissioner Dave Mueller suggested that Hett do some research on some upgrades that can be made on some of the campsites as well as what price increases could look like in light of what other counties charge.
The board discussed the possibility of adding sites and having donors who could sponsor them.
“I think we would be better off improving what we have before adding more as far as adding sites. The numbers don’t seem to be there yet for adding more, but there could be a need for that down the road.
Hett told the board that for the first time in his years of serving in the superintendent role, he has been having difficulty getting rent from someone at the trailer park and they haven’t paid since March of 2021. He also reported having issues with two other owners and their storage properties. The board encouraged him to work with County Attorney Brad Jantz to legally address the issues since they have been ongoing.
The board approved Hett getting bids for someone to come out and do tree work for the tree trimming that Hett and his staff are unable to reach.
County Engineer Brice Goebel reported to the board that they are still waiting on FEMA money from the major flooding in 2019. More paperwork was needed which Goebel completed and now they are waiting from that submission.
Goebel updated the board on some of the road and bridge projects his department has been working on including some spots in the county where guardrails have been damaged from accidents.
“Studies are now showing that as long as there is not more than an eight-foot drop behind that, it is better to have the guardrails removed as they cause more damage than they provide safety,” said Goebel.
Goebel told the board he had technicians out last week due to the holidays and that they have been busy plowing and cleaning up ice and snow from the storm this week so they haven’t gotten as much road work done as they had hoped.
Commissioner Kent Becker told Goebel that he wanted to acknowledge that whoever is doing the blade work on the roads in Lehigh has been doing excellent work.
In other business, the board:
n accepted the property of 202 South Olive in Peabody into the Marion County Land Bank