DMRyan wrote:This is very good news. If this area commercializes as a result of this, imagine another mini-Okaboji in southern Iowa. Speaking of southern Iowa, this is exactly the kind of economic development the place needs. The traditional methods of chasing after industry and jobs hasn't worked for this part of Iowa over the past 40 years. It's sparsely populated, far away from a metro center, and will never be a hub of economic activity. Between this park and the new recreational lake in Page County in SW Iowa, maybe the tourism dollars, and more scenic terrain will pay off much more than agriculture and trying to lure factories.
Honey Creek Park Website:
Location of Rathbun Lake (Appanoose County)
Firm selected for Rahbun resort
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
March 10, 2006
Centerville, Ia. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â For South Dakota native Gregory Schjodt and Regency Hotel Management, nesting an environmentally friendly resort onto the shores of Rathbun Lake in southern Iowa is a natural.
A state panel on Thursday picked Regency to build and operate Iowa's first state-park resort. Honey Creek Resort State Park is expected to open on Memorial Day 2008 with a 105-room lodge, indoor water park, 18-hole golf course, up to 35 cabins, trails, beach and boat ramp. In other words, with many of the perks Regency has built into its other projects.
The firm is already known to some Iowans. Regency is building a $20 million condo hotel and indoor water-park project, Bridges Bay, along East Okoboji Lake near the Ritz Restaurant. The water park and the first of the condos, which double as hotel units, are set to open this fall. Eventually, the development could approach $100 million as more units are added. The firm also runs the Arrowwood resort in Okoboji.
"Arrowwood is beautiful," said Joan Schneider of Okoboji, a member of the Iowa Natural Resource Commission, which approved contract negotiations for Honey Creek on Thursday.
Schjodt said Honey Creek will seek status as an official bird sanctuary and will be certified as an energy-efficient operation.
In an interview, Schodt said the company's Arrowwood operation at Alexandria, Minn., is perhaps closest to what Iowa plans. That resort has a lodge, condos, an 18-hole golf course, horse riding, family camps and hiking trails.
The 850-acre Honey Creek will be on a peninsula that will be joined by a pedestrian bridge to the existing 850-acre Honey Creek State Park. Rathbun Lake, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is one of the state's largest, and it supplies water for one of the country's largest rural water systems.
Jeff Vonk, director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said the selection of Regency culminates 30 years of debate over a resort at the lake.
Also on Thursday, Gov. Tom Vilsack signed a measure to ensure that there will be enough money to finance construction of the resort. Senate File 2056 specifies that bonds can be issued in a large enough amount to provide $28 million in net proceeds for the Honey Creek destination park.
DMRyan wrote:Sounds like a nice resort area. There have been planned or built resorts in Okoboji, Storm Lake, Lake Rathbun, and possibly Red Rock lake.
There were no resorts of this magnitude in Iowa as little as ten years ago. If Iowa can ever get their act together in cleaning up our waters, we could have a pretty significant tourism boost from all of these destination parks soon.
A Wisconsin firm plans to build a $90 million shopping and entertainment complex next to Rathbun Lake and Honey Creek Resort State Park in southern Iowa.
The 165-acre development by Bentley Management Group of Milwaukee builds on the firmÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s experience in the Wisconsin Dells and several Illinois locations.
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