Bass Lake Campground Discussions Turn Shrill During Contentious Meeting

Bass Lake CampgroundThe Starke County Park Board intends to make a site visit to the Bass Lake Beach and Campground.

Members of the board continued making their appeals Tuesday night for lessee Richard Callahan to better organize his financial documents. Starke County’s contract with the campground operator specifies certain improvements at the site may be deducted from his regular rent. Defining exactly what qualifies as a capital improvement for those deductions has proved a deeply philosophical endeavor.

Park Board member Roger Chaffins says there needs to be some give and take.

“I’m willing to split some stuff here and there, but I’m tired of this stuff where everything that gets done is our expense,” says Chaffins.

Last night’s meeting addressed issues related to procedure between the County and Callahan. Specifically, how to plan for upgrades at the site, proper permitting, and retrieving quotes to ensure the county is receiving the best bang for its buck.

The Park Board hopes a plan can be developed that allows the two parties to form a list of priority projects. The board has instructed Callahan to refrain from making capital improvements for the time being until those concerns have been addressed.

To create an amicable planning document, the Park Board says they will visit the site to account for work that has already taken place and bring an inspector to ensure it has been completed properly. Callahan says he wants the board to keep one thing in the back of their minds.

“We obviously know we’re dealing with an infrastructure that’s over 60 years old on the campsite and probably 80 years old on the beach site,” says Callahan. “So everything that we’re dealing with, some things we’re calling repairs, some are 60 and 80 years old so I don’t know if they can really be called a repair.”

Once a planning document has been developed, the Park Board expects it will make capital improvement requests easier to approve prior to beginning work at the Bass Lake Beach and Campground.

The county has decided to employ the services of Attorney Marty Lucas to advise during future discussions with Callahan.