Weather Delays Plans for Nebraska Campground

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August 10, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Those bringing recreational vehicles to the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island, Neb., may have to travel a little ways or rough it.

The Nebraska State Fair Board is seeking permission from the Grand Island City Council to leave some of the new 112 camping sites at Fonner Park as primitive sites for this year’s fair, the Grand Island Independent reported.

This would be a change from what the fair board originally requested for the RV park in the northeast corner of Fonner Park. The board had proposed hookups for water, sewer and electrical service to each camper be installed in time for the State Fair, which runs from Aug. 27 through Sept. 6.

Sallie Atkins, State Fair Board chairwoman, said the summer’s wet weather has been a hindrance to the camping sites’ construction.

“Water has been such an issue,” she said, adding that every time it rains, the workers have to pump out the ditch where they are running the water and electric lines.

Atkins said the crews have been working every day. “The problem is what Mother Nature has dealt us,” she said.

“We’re getting as much done as we can,” Atkins said. The crews are going to continue working through the fair, working from west to east. “If we can’t get them all done, we just want to let the council know.”

She said the Grand Island City Council has been very accommodating.

The fair board first proposed the RV park to the city council on June 8. It cautioned then that it would be using concrete pads instead of full paving, as is required by city code, for at least the first few years.

The council allowed the exceptions to its RV park requirements as long as the campground was used only for the fair until additional improvements are made. The original plan calls for the full paving to be completed by 2014.

Atkins said at least 50 of the sites are complete with electricity and concrete pads.

However, Bader Park may be an alternative for those wanting RV hookups for the fair. Bader Park Director Pat Carlson said the park added eight additional electrical sites this week to make 24 total sites available.

She said the sites were added because of increased traffic throughout the summer but also in anticipation of the fair coming to Grand Island.

Bader Park is about 10 minutes from Fonner Park.

Carlson said the existing 16 RV sites are already full for Labor Day as well as one of the new ones. She said about half of the traffic is related to the fair.

She said the fair could be a big boon to their park because many planning to bring an RV to the fair will stay for five or six days.

In future years, Carlson said she may hold a few spots back from reservations during the weeks of the fair so that local recreationers can still enjoy the park during Labor Day.

“Even though it would make us more money” to rent all of the spots to state fair attendees, she said she hopes others can still come just for the weekend.

Bader Park also has about 15 permanent tent camping sites, but Carlson said to reserve a tent spot she requires the full $10 a night in advance. For major summer holidays, such as Labor Day, she requires a 50 percent deposit. RV sites cost $15 a night plus a $4 daily or $20 annual park pass.

Carlson said the new camping spots are in a grassy area across the road from the other 16 sites. Because of an increase of equestrian traffic, the new RV spots are placed so that horses can be staked out near the camper and so there is room for a trailer as well.

“I think people will really like them,” she said. “It makes everyone’s campsite a little more private.”

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