Grafton EDC contributes money to Leistikow Park Campground expansion
GPR applies for matching grant
GRAFTON – What economic impact do campers in Leistikow Park Campground have on Grafton’s retail economy? That was one question posed at last Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the Grafton Economic Development Committee (EDC).
Grafton Parks and Recreation (GPR) Director Bill Dahl appeared before to EDC to outline the park district’s plans to expand the Leistikow Park Campground in 2014 and asked if the Economic Development Committee would be interested in contributing funds for the project.
Dahl told the EDC that the Leistikow Park Campground is where GPR sees the most growth potential.
There are currently 50 sites in the campground. Dahl said that all of the campground’s seasonal sites are re-booked for the 2014 season and it’s not unusual for potential campers to be turned away each weekend during the spring summer and fall because the campground is full.
Dahl said he didn’t have any hard numbers but said the campers at Leistikow Park spend their money at Grafton’s businesses including gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and downtown businesses.
Dahl provided the EDC a letter from the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce showing its support for the project. The letter was signed by more than 20 people representing various businesses in town.
Committee member Chris Lipsh added that between 80-90 percent of those who golf at Fair Oaks Golf Course on summer weekends are Canadian visitors who camp at Leistikow Park.
Dahl said GPR would like to expand the campground by 15 additional sites. He also said he’d like to see three seasonal cabins added to the park to accommodate guests.
Dahl said GPR currently has approximately $36,000 set aside for the expansion in their budget and they just applied for a North Dakota Tourism/Expansion grant. If approved the grant would provide a dollar for dollar match.
Dahl presented EDC members with an itemized list of estimated expenses for the expansion that included the cost of electric service, water and sewer, gravel for sites and roads, dirt fill and grass seed, water breakers and boiler valves and the cost of three cabins. That list added up to $72,734.
After much discussion, Lipsh made a motion recommending the EDC contribute $10,000 toward the project. The motion was seconded by Don Hutson and passed unanimously.
Lipsh said the EDC’s contribution added up to approximately 13 percent of the committee’s general fund balance. Other committee members also said they would not be opposed to appropriating more money in the future for the expansion project.