To the editor:
During the past several months, we have been talking with the Marion County Commission regarding the development of a site for rental cabins at Marion County Lake. It is readily apparent that there are some questions and concerns about our proposal and we would like to address those concerns as thoroughly as possible.
As graduates of Marion High School, we grew up in this rural neighborhood with aspirations of bigger and better things and fulfilling those aspirations, and other internal drives, by pursuing careers in the military. For the past 10 years, we have come to appreciate being home and spending time with family.
We have talked with many people throughout this county about our proposal and have received a plethora of supportive remarks.
We still believe that the majority of county residents are not opposed to change and are willing to allow us the opportunity to achieve the very thing we have spent the past 10 years working toward.
Below are a few items of concern that we would like to address:
Description of cabins: 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, Wi-Fi, and a fully equipped kitchen will be available in each cabin. The atmosphere of what we intend to offer will be great for family reunions, hunters, or families seeking a quiet getaway.
Location of cabins: We are interested in developing on one site. This site is the large area west of the Heated Dock at Marion County Lake. Other than being used for parking during holidays and large lake events, this site is largely unutilized. Our initial development would be two to four cabins, with the potential to expand to nine. There has been previous discussion of two other sites at Marion County Lake for development. Those were proposed as alternate locations but have since been abandoned in favor of the first location.
Crime: Concerns have been expressed regarding the possibility of increased crime with the construction of the cabins. However, no basis has been provided for these concerns. Would additional tent-camping sites result in increased crime?
Cost to county: Leroy Wetta provided some highly erroneous data in local newspapers regarding 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. Wetta asserted the county’s responsibility to pay for project costs, which would potentially be in excess of $30,000. This is not only inaccurate but also highly misleading.
At a previous county commission meeting, we had discussed that our initial estimations for the digging and installation of utilities to support our project were approximately $30,000. This was due to the possibility of encountering rock during the digging process, which would increase the cost of the installation. If approved for development, the county will bear no financial responsibility for any project costs for construction of these cabins, nor the installation of associated utilities.
Private use of public land: Many have voiced their concern about allowing private enterprise to develop on public land. Despite these concerns, this is not rare. In fact, one hour north of Marion, ACORN Resorts is a privately owned corporation that entered into contract with the federal government to build by Milford Lake. A flourishing business brings customers from all over Kansas and outside of the state. The government earns a percentage of ACORN Resorts profits and the county benefits from the tax revenue that comes from visitors to the community. Our proposed contract is based on the federal contract utilized for the cabins operated by ACORN Resorts.
Details are still being discussed with the County Commission and County Attorney.
Cabins will detract from the appearance of the lake: We originally considered pre-fabricated cabins that are built elsewhere and relocated to the Marion County Lake. However, 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 aesthetically pleasing appearance for the location. We also intend to landscape the area in a manner that complements the environment and an authentic cabin atmosphere.
Access to the lake: Accusations have been made that these cabins will prevent the public from easily accessing the lake. That accusation holds no truth. Access to the lake will be as currently exists with no disruption.
We have no desire to build in the county if we are not welcome. Our hope is to give back to a community that has supported us during 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 willingly withdraw our proposal and consider other opportunities. Our return to this community is in no way contingent upon the approval of this proposal as has been alluded to previously.
We are incredibly fortunate that “home” and “family” are in a community that has always supported us, in good times and bad. It is for that reason that we want to return. We would like your support with this endeavor and would appreciate any feedback and comments you have.
Heather, Chris, Tamra,
and Molly Holub