Campground Tries to Shed Tarnished Image

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January 24, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Deputy Suzanne Hopper

The reasons people live at Enon Beach Recreation Park in southwest Ohio are as diverse as the RVs parked there, ranging from six-figure price tag Fleetwoods to plywood-patched trailers, the Springfield News-Sun reported.

“We want to try to save some money,” said Rich Dixon, 36. He moved there this summer with his girlfriend and her 10-year-old son. “Times are tight.”

A harsh spotlight fell on the campground New Year’s Day when resident Michael Ferryman reportedly shot and killed Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Suzanne Waughtel Hopper. Ferryman was found dead in his trailer after an ensuing shootout with police, which left another police officer wounded.

The shootout shed light on the little-known practice by a score or more residents who live year-round at Enon Beach, a place designed for temporary camping.

“I just don’t like people judging us because of what happened,” said a resident who identified herself only as Sandy.

She and her husband have lived there four years. They both work, and could afford an apartment, but don’t want to live in the city. They like the lakefront park.

“We wouldn’t be out here if we had any problems,” she said.

“We’re very much like a motel,” said Harold Stevens, campground owner. “We have people come and go, some of them daily, some of them weekly and some of them monthly.”

“We’re as much an asset to the community as we’re a problem,” he said. “Who else is there to handle the transients?”

County records show the campground is a drain on emergency responders. There were 105 calls to 911 last year, compared to a dozen or so at most campgrounds in the county. But the grounds are in compliance with health codes and zoning laws, according to county and township officials.

Dixon said the 10-year-old boy hasn’t been able to sleep since the shootout a few doors down. Now they plan to leave.

“All this was a little too much for me and the kid,” he said. He said it was quiet until the shooting, which left 28 bullet holes in his trailer.

“I haven’t had any problems, minus the holes we got.”

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