Commissioner Asks Beach Manager to Step Aside, No Action Taken

Bass Lake Beach
Bass Lake Beach
At least one Starke County commissioner would like to see new management at Bass Lake Beach and Campground next year. President Kathy Norem grilled Richard Callahan, who has a lease with the county through 2018 to run the property, at length during Monday’s meeting over the perennial health and safety violations cited by state and local inspectors.

“The hot water doesn’t work, there’s feces in the toilet, there’s sewage leaking here and there, no safety and security equipment, toilets don’t flush…every year, and frankly, sometime you’ve got to say, ‘hello, there’s a problem here,’” said Norem.

Callahan contends the problems have been corrected and says both the beach and campground will be problem-free when a state inspector returns later this month to check both facilities again. Norem stresses the county does not have plans to sell the beach, and adds that’s not even a viable option.

“We are not allowed to sell the beach. It is written into the deed that way. We have to keep it in perpetuity. I have the statement here: “The transfer is contingent on the use of the real estate for outdoor recreation purposes in perpetuity, in accordance with land and water conservation fund requirements.” This is on the deed of the Bass Lake State Beach to the Starke County Commissioners,” Norem explained.

Norem told Callahan she “does not think he is capable of running that beach in the matter it needs to be run in.” He does have a lease agreement with the county through 2018 for the property. The commissioners did discuss the establishment of a county parks and recreation committee to oversee the beach and other non-municipal public parks. Establishment of such a body would be up to the council, and the commissioners sent them a favorable recommendation to do so.

To view the lease agreement, click here.