Letters (June 8, 2011)

Developers present facts on lake cabins

Over the past several months, we have been speaking with the Marion County Commission in regard to the development of a Marion County Lake site for rental cabins. It is apparent there are some questions regarding our proposal and we would like to address them.

As graduates of Marion High School, we were like any other small-town adolescents. We grew up in this rural neighborhood with aspirations of bigger and better things. We set about fulfilling those aspirations by pursuing careers in the military.

For the past 10 years we have seen and done things that have made us truly appreciate what we may have previously taken for granted. The two most prominent are home and family.

Our proposal reflects our desire to come home. But in today?s economy, and in this small-town community, there are few job opportunities. We have received a plethora of support for our proposal, despite some recent opposition. We believe the majority are willing to allow us to achieve the very thing we have spent the last 10 years working toward.

Below are a few items we would like to address about these cabins:

Description: We intend to offer various-sized cabins sleeping as many as eight. Select cabins will have a loft offering additional sleeping for children. Unvented gas log fireplaces, TV, cable, WIFI and a fully equipped kitchen will be available in each cabin. The atmosphere will be great for family reunions, hunters or families seeking a quiet get-a-way.

Location: The one site we are interested in developing is the large area west of the heated dock. Other than being used for parking during holidays and large events, this site is largely unused. Our initial development would be two to four cabins, with the potential for expansion to nine. Two other sites have been discussed. Those were proposed as alternate locations but have since been abandoned.

Crime: Concerns have been expressed regarding the possibility of increased crime with the construction of the cabins, but no basis has been provided for these concerns. Would additional tent-camping sites result in increased crime?

Cost to county: In the May 25 issue of the Free Press, Leroy Wetta provided erroneous data in regard to Marion County?s role in the development of these cabins, which may be due to his absence at zoning and county commission meetings where we discussed these issues at length.

Mr. Wetta stated the county?s responsibility to pay for project costs potentially would be in excess of $30,000. This is not only inaccurate but highly misleading. At a previous county commission meeting, we had discussed that our initial estimates for digging and installing utilities was about $30,000 due to the possibility of encountering rock during the digging process. If the project is approved, the county will bear no financial responsibility for any construction costs for the cabins or the installation of utilities.

Private use of public land: Many have voiced concern about allowing private enterprise to develop on public land. But this is not rare. In fact, one hour north of Marion, ACORN Resorts is a private corporation that entered into contract with the federal government to build by Milford Lake. It is a flourishing business that brings customers from all over Kansas and beyond. The government earns a percentage of ACORN Resorts profits and the county benefits from the the tax revenue that comes from visitors to the community. Our proposed contract is based on the federal contract used for the ACORN cabins. Details are still being discussed with the county commission and attorney.

Cabins will detract from the appearance of the lake: We originally considered pre-fabricated cabins that are built elsewhere and relocated to the lake, but they amounted to little more than a trailer house with wood siding. We chose instead to contract locally for the cabins to be built on site using exterior and interior log siding. This will provide a much more asthetically pleasing appearance. We also intend to landscape the area in a complementary manner.

Access to the lake: Accusa?tions have been made that these cabins will prevent the public from easily accessing the lake. Not true. Access to the lake will continue as it is now.

We have no desire to build in the county if we are not welcomed. Our hope is to give back to a community that has supported us over the past decade while allowing us the opportunity to raise our families in the same small-town atmosphere we were raised.

If the majority of this community feels our proposal is a detriment to Marion County, we will withdraw our proposal and consider other opportunities. Our return to this community is in no way contingent upon the approval of this proposal.

We would like your support on this endeavor and would appreciate your feedback.

Heather, Chris, Tamra
and Molly Holub
Marion

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