Campground coming to Minooka Park
A new, 18-site campground will be built at Minooka Park, after a 4-3 vote Monday by the Chilton County Commission.
The decisive vote hinged on the campground’s $86,000 cost to Chilton County.
Commissioners Heedy Hayes, Allen Caton, Bobby Agee and Red Turnipseed approved the construction bids. Commission chairman Tim Mims, Greg Moore and Joe Headley voted against funding the project.
The county has $172,000 left from a grant given by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to help build the campsite off U.S. 31. The state awarded Chilton County the grant back in 2005.
The project must be under contract by Jan. 1, 2010, or the money will be given to another county, according to Park Manager Gerald Arrington.
“If we don’t spend this $172,000, we won’t likely get another grant,” said vice-chairman Allen Caton.
The campground’s construction totals $227,000 — most of which will be paid by the grant. That money will cover laying concrete slabs at all the campsites and installing power and sewage lines.
Chilton County’s match for the project comes up to approximately $43,000. The commission decided to spend another $11,000 to cover all the upgrades and an additional $31,000 to pave the main road inside the park’s entrance and around the campsites.
Most commissioners who voted for the project say a campground will pay for itself over time with camping fees.
“This is the only thing Chilton County has right now that will make money,” said commissioner Heedy Hayes. “When you get this thing filled up, it will stay filled up.”
Arrington said he receives constant questions about the camp’s facilities.
“We’re getting a lot of interest for a full-service campground,” Arrington said. “I think it’s good to spend the remainder of this grant money on something that is revenue producing…I think it will bring a lot more people into the park that haven’t visited before.”
Mims said he would have supported paying for the campsites but not spending more money to pave the road.
Work on the project could start within two weeks, Arrington said.
Phase II of the project, which hasn’t secured any funding, would eventually add another 14 campsites at Minooka Park.
The park offers fishing, hiking and ATV opportunities. For more information about the park, visit minookapark.org.