Starke County Park Board Orders Bass Lake Beach Operator to Repair Patio

The deterioration of the Bass Lake Beach House patio may be worse than originally thought. Now, the Starke County Park Board is demanding action from the facility’s operator, Callahan Development, LLC. Officials with the Starke County Highway Department recently took a look at the site to see what may need to be done, but they’ve determined that the project is too large for them to do themselves.

During Tuesday’s meeting, board member Debbie Mix suggested that their next step should be to have County Attorney Marty Lucas send Callahan a letter, “Stating that they have 30 days to fix it or at least to have a plan to fix it, a concrete plan, and I would also like to include in that letter that there’s a timeframe to have it completed,” Mix said. “And regardless of what the money is, it needs to be done before the beach is opened next year. It’s just dangerous.”

The main issues are the lack of fill to hold up the concrete structure, along with damage to the patio’s railing. Assistant Manager Larry Clarich says he’s been working on the problems, according to Park Board President Roger Chaffins. “He had three people look at the concrete but none want to touch it because of the rails,” Chaffins read from a message from Clarich. “‘I have two from the mill willing to do it, but they won’t commit to a time, since they’re busy, also.’”

But board member Chris Lawrence pointed out that regardless of the scope of the work, maintenance is still Callahan’s responsibility. “The bottom line is the contract says he has to maintain the facility,” Lawrence said. “And just to put it off because you don’t know what it’s going to take, put it off because so-and-so won’t give you a bid, I mean, it’s a recurring theme. It’s excuse after excuse after excuse: it’s going to cost too much. So sometime, we’ve got to come to a point, where he’s just got to maintain it and follow his contract they signed and maintain the items that he’s supposed to.”

It was also noted that if the work still doesn’t get done, the county could hire a contractor itself and then bill Callahan.

But there are a few other concerns with the Bass Lake Beach, beyond just the patio. Board member Butch Gerstandt said the beach house needs some major work. “I think it’s going to be a decision one of these days to rip it down almost,” he said. “I mean, it’s bad. If you walk around that building, it’s mush.”

Chaffins also reported that the fence at the north end of the beach property was damaged Monday, when a car apparently crashed through it.