While fall draws near and brings about the close of the camping season at the Harvey County parks, the county commission got a look at a new amenity that will extend that experience year-round. The commission toured the new cabins at Camp Hawk on Tuesday.
After being installed on site over the summer, parks staff has been progressing with finishing work (installing electric, HVAC, etc.) on the cabins since Aug. 1. Parks director Kass Miller noted he is hopeful the cabins will be open for public use by the Thanksgiving holiday.
"I'm glad that it's happening this way so we have the winter months to work through the kinks and get a little experience with how it's going to go over, because if we were to open up during the summer it would've been crazy for us," Miller said. "We're getting calls all the time. I think they're going to be popular. If the state's popularity is any indication of how these are going to be, it'll be successful."
Partitioning the rooms in the cabins in both the standard and ADA-accessible models has been a focal point of the finishing work, with each to feature a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom(s) — including a large, upper loft in the ADA-accessible cabin — and living room. Equipment, such as water heaters and A/C units, still has to be installed as well, with Miller pointing out that the A/C units in particular will be similar to those used in many motels, running both hot and cold air. That is a key feature as it will allow the cabins to be rented year-round.
Miller has been working with the Parks Advisory Board on potential rental rates for the cabins, which will soon be brought before the commission for consideration.
Given the relatively low total cost of $45,000 for both cabins (for which funding was received through a grant from the R. Michael Rhoades Foundation), commissioners were optimistic that success of the cabins at Camp Hawk could lead to expansion of the amenity to other county parks.
In other business, the county commission:
• Certified the USD 373 bond election results, counting eight of 19 provisional ballots received (as recommended) during a vote canvass. That brought the totals to 3,364 yes votes and 4,043 no votes on question one and 2,892 yes votes and 4,990 no votes on question two.
• Noted the appointment of County Administrator Anthony Swartzendruber (as Kansas Association of Counties representative) to Gov. Laura Kelly's Council on Tax Reform.
• Heard concerns from Halstead residents Eddie Weber, Steve Randall and John Stutzman about drainage issues on a stretch of Halstead Road between S.W. 60th and S.W. 72nd streets. Road and Bridge superintendent Jim Meier noted that portion made a list of areas to be addressed with similar concerns, but flooding has hindered his department's work schedule, including that project. While questions were raised if outside contractors or the landowners themselves could tackle the issue, there were concerns about both approaches, though the commission was sympathetic to the cause and hopeful the necessary work would get done in due time.
• Learned that the county's application for state funding to help with two bridge projects was not selected, though there is another cost-sharing program administration is currently looking into to support other projects, such as work on Hesston Road.
• Reappointed Reagan Siedl (representing USD 373) to the Harvey/McPherson County Community Corrections advisory board, waiving a second reading.
• Approved a year-end outcomes report from Harvey/McPherson County Community Corrections, noting a supervision rate of 72% for felony probationers in the counties (just shy of the 75% benchmark).