The Starke County Commissioners will soon meet in an executive session to discuss the Bass Lake Beach and Campground, specifically the question of whether or not the attraction’s current managers are maintaining and operating it appropriately. Richard Callahan and his attorney, Dave Wallsmith, approached the commissioners at their meeting this week to give them a report on how the beach has been doing but the discussion soon led into the question of whether or not the lease should be invalidated.
Callahan told the commissioners that the season went well with good weather, and the numbers in the campground were better this year than last year. He said he has been trying to keep up with necessary paperwork but must submit at least one more document to the county auditor.
The conversation soon turned, however, to discussion over winter camping and how that will be handled. Wallsmith told the board that Oct. 31 marks the end of camping season, and the campground will stop providing septic, water, electric, and other utilities to the campground during the off-season. He said they have developed a notice for campers that indicates that no utilities or facilities will be provided after that date, and while people can come spend the day at the campground, overnight camping would not be allowed. In addition, Callahan explained that everyone rents the campground year-round but only stays during the season.
Norem told him that state law requires water be provided to a number of campers, and by allowing people to keep their campers and other items at the campground but denying them the ability to stay overnight, the Callahans are effectively turning the campground into a storage facility. This, she said, is problematic. Wallsmith told her that they are trying to address their concerns, but Norem said the commissioners will discuss their options in an executive session.