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Biloxi, Miss. Council Says ‘No’ to RV Park Plan

September 6, 2013 by · Comments Off on Biloxi, Miss. Council Says ‘No’ to RV Park Plan 

On Tuesday (Sept. 3), the city council in Biloxi, Miss., voted against rezoning property that would have been used to build an RV park. The council faced a lot of resistance from residents, who didn’t want the park in their neighborhood, WLOX, Biloxi, reported.

This rezoning issue had been tabled for weeks. Many residents who weren’t too happy with the idea of the RV park were at the meeting to voice their concerns.

It would have been located on AJ Holloway Drive, near Biloxi High School which is councilman Kenny Glavan’s ward, but the council voted 4-3 against the rezoning.

“I like the project, but then I have to weigh the thoughts and the minds of the people who I represent. And in this case, I cannot support it at this time. It may not be the right time,” said Glavan.

Johnny Gill is the property owner. He has wanted to build a RV park there for years. He said he is disappointed with the council’s decision, but feels the fight is not over.

“We barely lost, but we do have a plan B, and the plan B will be coming up next. Just because you lose one that doesn’t necessarily mean you lose the other one,” said Gill.

Many neighbors were relieved with the council’s vote, but one resident, Christine Davis, said she does not think they have heard the last of this proposal.

“I’m relieved, but like I said I’m still going to be on my guard and watch because I do fear that it will try to come back again, “said Davis.

At this time the property will not be rezoned to build the RV park, but the property’s owner said he isn’t finished fighting yet.

Click here to watch a brief WLOX newscast about the above story.

 

 

6,800 Wash. Campers Risk “4th” Cancellation

June 26, 2013 by · Comments Off on 6,800 Wash. Campers Risk “4th” Cancellation 

‘‘‘Prospective campers are bracing for the possible shutdown of state camping facilities in Washington over the coming July 4th holiday if the state government shuts down this weekend.

All state parks in the state of Washington would be closed if there’s a government shutdown, my northwest.com reported. All 117 parks and facilities would be off-limits.

“The gates would be closed,” said state parks spokesperson Virginia Painter. There are no services for them. No restrooms. No public safety.”

The campgrounds are nearly full for the 4th of July holiday. There are 6,800 reservations, statewide, for the first week of July. Those reservations would be canceled during any shutdown and campers would have to make other plans. “We’re working on how we would process refunds,” Painter said. “We’re working on those details right now.”

Painter said the agency is also preparing to notify those people holding reservations about what they can do, but she said they’re holding out hope those are calls they won’t have to make. “At this point, we just need to cross our fingers and remain optimistic, but we are also considering when to warn people about the situation,” she said.

Olympia still has six days to figure out a budget and avoid a government shutdown.

 

U.S. Travelers Plan More Summer Road Trips

June 19, 2013 by · Comments Off on U.S. Travelers Plan More Summer Road Trips 

Scrape the bugs off your windshield and check your radiator coolant because the next few months are stacking up to be one of the top summers for road trips in years.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, with consumer confidence up, fuel prices down and frustration over airline fees growing, Americans are expected to hit the road in big numbers over the next few months, rolling to such hot spots as Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

Travel experts and surveys conducted in the last few weeks point to a season of busy freeways and crowded roadside attractions.

Three in four summer travelers said they would be taking a trip by car, up from 70% who said they planned to drive last summer, according to a survey of more than 1,200 Americans taken by the travel website TripAdvisor.

A survey by the travel website Expedia found that 14% of travelers said they were more likely to take a summer road trip this year than last year because of an improving economy.

“I think we are going to see a little more of those longer trips,” said Jim Rogers, CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), a Montana-based franchise with more than 400 campgrounds throughout North America. “It’s not going to be just the weekend trips.”

Summer reservations at KOA campgrounds across the country are up 14% compared with the same period last year, and Rogers attributes the rise to declining fuel prices and rising confidence in the economy.

“It’s not going to be a tsunami or a tidal wave, but it will be a definite wave,” he said of the road trip trend.

To read the entire article click here.

 

The Current RV Park and Campground Briefs

June 17, 2013 by · Comments Off on The Current RV Park and Campground Briefs 

 

SOUTH DAKOTA

From KSFY-TV, Sioux Falls:

Police have released the name of the man who was swept away in the Missouri River early on June 14.

Anthony J. Campbell, 25, was wading in the water on a sandbar when he was swept away by the current. A female who was with Campbell tried to pull him back, but he was pulled under by the strong Missouri River currents.

The water in the river travels over 12 mph and moves in different directions making the currents unpredictable.

The manager at the Scenic Park campgrounds in South Sioux City heard the screams and called 9-1-1 just before 4 a.m. Dakota City Fire and Rescue has two boats in the water for two hours before they pulled the boats out of the water.

The Yankton Dive Team arrived around 11am and are searching the area. Members of the Department of Natural Resources from Nebraska and Iowa have also joined in the search. They hope to be able to use sonar to locate the man’s body. At this point authorities are calling this a recovery effort.

NEW YORK

From North Country Now, Potsdam:

The state Senate has passed legislation, sponsored by Sen. Betty Little, that would address the law governing removal of disruptive campground guests.

Little, R-Queensbury, represents Parishville, Lawrence, Clare, Colton, Hopkinton and Piercefield, an area that includes Higley Flow State Park in Colton and its 128 campsites.

The law currently does not specifically address campground users, and courts have traditionally applied varying standards to the issue, including landlord-tenant law.

“This legislation would provide the grounds for why a person could be asked to leave a campground,” said Little. “The purpose is to provide clarity, clear parameters and a legal process to follow. It would bring campgrounds in line with what can be done at hotels and motels when guests become disruptive and a threat to other guests.”

The legislation, S.1360, would add a new section to the real property law that would define “campground” and “campground owner” and would provide for the removal of a person from a campground who creates a disturbance or otherwise violates lawful regulations created by the campground owner.

The legislation would also provide for the return of pre-paid fees and the disposal of property belonging to a person asked to leave the campground or who has abandoned property at the campground.

The Senate bill can be viewed at open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S1360-2013. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Assembly.

The Campground Owners of New York (CONY) supports the bill.

ALBERTA

From CNC News, Edmonton:

Parks Canada is looking into how national parks can better accomodate RV users at campsites in Banff, Jasper and other national parks.

Parks officials met this week with other agencies including the Alberta Motor Association and the Recreational Vehicle Association of Alberta. Officials say they wanted to get some ideas on how to increase RV facilities at the campgrounds.

“Well, the market has changed and recreational vehicles are occupying big space,” said Parks Canada spokesperson Tracy Thiessen. “They need room to park their vehicles and to enjoy these beautiful places.”

Many Parks Canada campgrounds were built in the 1950s but with one in five Albertans now owning an RV, Thiessen says the demand is for improved facilities and larger campsites.

Officials are considering freeing up space at quieter campgrounds to meet the growing demands of RV users.

No decision has been made at this point.

CALIFORNIA

From KERO-TV, Bakersfield:

The California Coastal Commission has approved a plan to install parking machines and hike holiday parking fees at several popular Orange County beaches.

The commission on Friday (June 14) voted to let the state’s Department of Parks and Recreation install automated parking machines at the beaches and charge a $20 flat holiday rate — up from $15.

The move comes as the department seeks funding to offset a 37 percent drop in general fund cash in the last five years. Parks officials have faced opposition to similar efforts at some Northern California beaches where parking was traditionally free.

FLORIDA

From the Largo Patch:

Briarwood owners will pay to fix and move resident RVs as part of plans to redevelop the property into a 260-unit apartment complex.

Other housing options were also offered during a meeting with Briarwood RV Park owner, nearly 40 residents and attorney Christine Allamanno recently. Mobile homes that can’t move on their own would be repaired and park owners would pay to haul the units to other parks, according to city officials. Owners also would pay to remove additions and units left behind.

Plans to redevelop the 13.8-acre recreational vehicle park into a 260-unit apartment complex were approved by commissioners May 8

 

ARVC’s New Website A ‘Go to’ Member Asset

April 2, 2013 by · Comments Off on ARVC’s New Website A ‘Go to’ Member Asset 

A screenshot of the homepage for the recently launched new ARVC website.

The National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) has successfully launched a brand new website for the association at www.arvc.org.

“We’re really pleased with the way the site has come together,” Jennifer Schwartz, ARVC’s senior director of marketing communications and partnerships, stated in a news release. She added that ARVC tapped Indianapolis, Ind.-based WebLink International Inc., a leading provider of websites for trade associations, to develop the new site.

“ARVC.org has been redesigned to incorporate the most relevant and compelling content,” Schwartz said. “It provides enhanced functionality and easy to use tools to better serve our members as a more complete, centralized member resource for member benefits, news and upcoming events. It’s everything you need to know about ARVC and ARVC-related opportunities.”

The website features ARVC’s educational, operational and marketing resources, updates on legislative and regulatory affairs, as well as information on ARVC Foundation programs and industry support.

“We anticipate that ARVC.org will quickly become the ‘go to’ resource for our members,” Schwartz said, adding that the website also has an online community forum where ARVC members, supplier partners, and state leaders can exchange ideas and opinions about topics of interest to them.

“The website also includes a searchable database of suppliers that we didn’t have before,” Schwartz said. “Now it’s very easy for our members to find providers of products or services they are searching for. We’ve also made it so that suppliers can update their business listings whenever they want to ensure that they can keep the most accurate and up-to-date information in front of our members.”

ARVC members can also use the website to process payments for membership dues as well as their attendance at conferences and workshops provided by the association.

Based in Denver, Colo., ARVC is the only national trade association exclusively representing the interests of privately owned RV parks, resorts and campgrounds. Membership is comprised of RV park and campground owners and operators, industry suppliers, franchisers and others committed to promoting the growth and welfare of the RV park and campground sector of the outdoor hospitality industry through development and implementation of legislative, regulatory, educational and promotional programs and activities. ARVC is a not-for-profit 501(c)6 organization. Visit www.arvc.org for more information.

 

WCM’s Bob Ashley Receives RVIA Honor

March 15, 2013 by · Comments Off on WCM’s Bob Ashley Receives RVIA Honor 

Bob Ashley

Bob Ashley, a columnist for Woodall’s Campground Management and RVBusiness   magazines, has been honored by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) with its “Distinguished Service in RV Journalism” award.

The award was announced at the RVIA annual meeting last week in Orlando, Fla.

Ashley is an Indiana-based freelance writer/editor and a 25-year newspaper veteran who has focused on the RV industry and national recreation issues for 18 years.

Ashley writes a regular column, titled “On Campgrounds,” for WCM, in which he talks about current business trends with campground owners and operators around the country, and “Public Domain” for RVB.

He also writes for other trade publications.

The RVIA’s script on the announcement follows:

“The Distinguished Achievement in RV Journalism Award is presented to journalists for exemplary coverage of the RV industry or RV travel. Bob Ashley has covered the RV industry for nearly 20 years as both a trade writer for RVBusiness and a reporter for enthusiast publications such as Motorhome and Trailer Life. He specializes in writing about the research, development and production of RVs and in his career has covered the industry’s evolution in product development from the frontlines. He also examines key legislative issues affecting the RV industry in his “Public Domain” column in RVBusiness.”

The award will be presented during Committee Week in June.

The Latest Briefs for RV Parks & Campgrounds

March 1, 2013 by · Comments Off on The Latest Briefs for RV Parks & Campgrounds 

MISSOURI

From the Lake Expo, Osage Beach:

Voices of opposition prevailed during a Camden County Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing on Feb. 20. As a result, the commission tabled a request by Greg Reinhold, Red Oaks Resorts LLC to rezone a 60.4 acre tract of land from R-1 Low Density Residential to B-2 General Commercial for the expansion of a proposed RV Park area.

The property is located at Lake Road 5-65 and Marina Road in Sunrise Beach and it is scheduled for improvements, including the installation of necessary utility services, gravity sewer mains, water mains, and access roadways to accommodate the installation of 200 RV pad sites for seasonal rental use.

Click here to read the entire story.

UTAH

From the Moab Times-Independent:

The Moab Kampgrounds of America (KOA) campground will have space for six additional 45-foot RV trailers this summer.

The Grand County Council voted unanimously Feb. 19 to approve campground owner Greg Robinson’s request for a conditional use permit that will allow the expansion.

Robinson and his wife, Sue, have owned the campground at 3225 South U.S. 191 for the past two years. In peak months during 2012, Robinson said, the facility could not accommodate all potential customers who had the larger RVs.

The big rigs often pull cars or jeeps, which requires a total of 70 feet of parking space, according to Robinson. The new RV camping spaces will be developed on just less than 2 acres at the 16-acre campground.

Robinson had previously said he hopes to start construction on the expansion in March.

The KOA currently has 140 sites, including 38 for tents, 27 cabins, and the remainder for RVs of varying sizes, Robinson said.

TENNESSEE

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has announced its seasonal campgrounds will open March 15 for this year’s recreational season.

TVA said it operates more than 80 public recreational areas, which includes campgrounds and boat ramps. The campgrounds it manages hosted more than 61,000 overnight stays last year.

The 2013 season for most of the campgrounds will run through Nov. 18, though Douglas Dam and Pickwick Dam tailwater campgrounds will stay open through Dec. 16, a news release said.

TVA said it will no longer manage Barton Springs campground on Normandy Reservoir near Manchester, Tenn., or Mallard Creek campground on Wheeler Reservoir in Hillsboro, Ala. It said they will probably open in early May with a commercial operator.

Loyston Point campground on Norris Reservoir near Andersonville, Tenn., has been under management by a commercial operator since 2011.

CALIFORNIA

From The Associated Press:

A former state parks employee who illegally cashed out thousands of dollars in vacation time for himself and others as the department was struggling with budget deficits must pay a $7,000 fine.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission said that Manuel Lopez cashed out about 524 hours of his own vacation time for payments totaling $28,647. The other payouts involved 56 people and totaled $300,000.

They came to light last summer as the state was considering shuttering 70 parks to close budget gaps.

The commission said that Lopez was not allowed to approve such payouts in his capacity as the deputy director of administrative services in the state Department of Parks and Recreation.

Lopez resigned from the department over the scandal. He could not be immediately reached.

From the Visalia Times-Delta:

Officials at Kings Canyon National Park are seeking input from the public on a proposal to raise use fees for three of its group campsites.

The National Park Service is considering raising the current $40-a-night fee at sites A, C and D at the Canyon View Campground in the Cedar Grove area by $10. Each site can accommodate 20 to 40 people.

Park Service officials say raising the prices would put the fee more in line with other large campsites at Kings Canyon and neighboring Sequoia National Park.

OREGON

From the Statesman Journal, Salem:

Two campgrounds on the Willamette National Forest could be converted from first-come, first-served individual sites to reservation group campgrounds.

The Sweet Home Ranger District is taking comments on the proposal to change Fernview and Lost Prairie to reservable campgrounds during the summer.

Historically, neither campground sees much use except on occasional weekends, Forest Service officials said.

If the conversion is approved, Fernview and Lost Prairie would be available for reservations up to four days in advance for visitors between Memorial Day and Sept. 30. If on a given day no group has reserved the campground, individual sites would be open on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Group sites have become popular destinations, and many are rented up to a year in advance.

“The Willamette National Forest strives to meet the changing needs of its users by offering uses concurrent with societal trends,” said Jon Meier, the district’s recreation planner.

The campground operator, Linn County Parks and Recreation, asked for the change to help meet the demand for group sites, he added.

“We found it an interesting idea and are soliciting public feedback,” Meier said.

Fernview, which has 11 individual campsites, is about 22 miles east of Sweet Home on Highway 20. Changing Fernview to a group site would allow up to 60 people to reserve the entire campground for $125 a night.

Lost Prairie is about 38 miles east of Sweet Home on Highway 20, and has four car-accessible campsites and six walk-in sites. Changing the campground to a group site would allow parties of up to 60 people to reserve the entire campground for $125 a night.

 

 

The Latest RV Parks and Campgrounds Briefs

February 22, 2013 by · Comments Off on The Latest RV Parks and Campgrounds Briefs 

CALIFORNIA

From a Bureau of Land Management news release:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Needles Field Office (NFO) is submitting a grant application to the California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVRD) to help manage off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation opportunities on public lands. The Needles Field office is requesting funding for Operations and Maintenance, Law Enforcement, Planning, and Education and is inviting public comments on its preliminary grant application.

The preliminary application will be available on the OHMVRD’s website at http://www.ohv.parks.ca.gov/ for review and comment from March 5 through April 1. The division’s website will provide detailed instructions for accessing the preliminary application and submitting comments. Note, comments must be submitted via email to both the OHMVRD and the Needles Field Office. Comments to the NFO should be submitted to David Roan, OHV Grant Administrator at droan@blm.gov.

Copies of the grant application are available after March 5 at BLM’s Needles Field Office, as well as the BLM Desert District Office in Moreno Valley, and the state office in Sacramento. Information is also available on BLM’s website at http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/recreation.html.

For more information, contact David Roan, Needles Outdoor Recreation Planner/OHV Grants Administrator at (760) 326-7033, or Mike Ahrens, Recreation Branch Supervisor at (760) 326-7031.

RHODE ISLAND

From The Associated Press:

Unemployed veterans are being recruited for more than three dozen short-term positions preparing Rhode Island beaches and parks for the season.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee says the state Department of Labor and Training is working with the RI Temps staffing agency in Warwick to recruit veterans.

The full-time work assignments moving beach sand, removing debris, picking up trash, installing snow fencing and raking campground sites are expected to run from early March to mid-April.

Work sites approved so far include Roger Wheeler State Beach, East Matunuck State Beach and the Charlestown Breachway in Narragansett; East Bay State Beach and Burlingame State Campground in Charlestown; and Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly.

The positions are financed through a federal disaster grant Rhode Island received following Superstorm Sandy.

PENNSYLVANIA

From The Daily Review, Towanda:

From the Tuesday’s fire at the Alpine Meadows Campground in Stevens Township, which destroyed a camper and a mobile home and also damaged another camper, has been ruled accidental, the LeRaysville-Pike fire chief said.

“There’s nothing suspicious” about the cause of the fire, said John Keegan, chief of the LeRaysville-Pike Volunteer Fire Company.

The fire destroyed a camper in which Derek and Tiffany Brown and their two young children lived, he said.

Brown works in the gas industry, as does Gary Matthews of Ulysses, who was living in a separate camper that had some of its siding melted from the fire, he said.

“People can live in newer campers in cold weather,” the fire chief said.

In addition, a mobile home that is owned by Eva Gertenitch of Spring City was destroyed in the fire, the fire chief said. The mobile home was vacant at the time, as Gertenitch only used it in the summer, Keegan said.

Click here to read the entire story. 

 

CONY’s CEO Standing Up for Parks in Hearing

February 22, 2013 by · Comments Off on CONY’s CEO Standing Up for Parks in Hearing 

Donald G. Bennett Jr., CONY president/CEO

Editor’s Note: On Jan. 15, Donald G. Bennet Jr., president and CEO of the Campground Owners of New York (CONY), testified before the New York General Assembly’s Standing Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Assembly and the Standing Committee on Oversight, Analysis and Investigation. His testimony focused on the current state of the campground industry in the Empire State. 

About Donald Bennett and CONY:

Bennett has been with CONY for almost seven years as CEO. He is also a Certified Public Accountant and a third generation campground owner. His campground business just concluded its 50th year of operation in the Finger Lakes region.

CONY is headquartered in Pittsford, N.Y., and has approximately 200 privately owned campgrounds all over New York state as members. The organization was founded in 1963. CONY is dedicated to the promotion, growth, improvement and development of privately owned campgrounds in New York state.

Highlights from Bennett’s testimony will appear in a three-part series on www.woodallscm.com. Part 1 appears below. 

Summary of the Privately Owned Campground Segment for 2012

Privately owned campgrounds and RV parks in New York state have experienced an average to above average campaign for 2012. The camping sector of the outdoor hospitality industry is very dependent on such conditions as the weather, fuel prices, the economy and current trends. In 2012 the weather cooperated, fuel prices remained stable; $4 per gallon seems to be the tipping point for many; the economy is still somewhat soft. Generally in bad economic times, camping becomes an affordable vacation. With the economy as it is, families are trading down from much costlier vacations, to thus learning to live with less.

Some statistics for the New York camper:

1) 74% of New York campers were at home the night before vs. North America at 54%. This shows the trend that with the poor economy, people stay closer to home commonly coined as “staycations.” As families struggle with employment issues and many families have become two income with both spouses working, it has become more difficult to align vacation time. Short, close to home vacations, getaways or weekends have become more popular.

2) 18% of the campers were first time camper’s vs. 15% for North America.

3) The purpose of the stay at private campgrounds: On the way to another location in New York was 25%. The national average is 48%. A Getaway/Weekend in New York amounted to 51% vs. 34% for North America. Stay and Play for New York amounted to 24%, while the national average was 18%.

The Private Campground Owner Faces:

1) Increased fees, taxes and expenses:

a. Fees have increased exponentially over the past few years. Examples are: Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) spedies permit. The permit for septic systems and the discharge into the ground system. DEC does nothing for this fee but yet it has doubled in the last few years. Ag and Markets charge a small seasonal operation the same fee as a multi-million dollar grocery store.

b. It is widely known that real estate taxes have increased a tremendous amount while assessed values have also raced ahead compounding the problem of high taxes. Many municipalities have implemented Occupancy Taxes on rental units and cabins and even in one county on campsites themselves. Campgrounds must be commended on green space and keeping large parcels of land from regular development, while keeping them on the tax rolls to help the funding of the local communities in which they are located.

c. Expenses have risen beyond belief. Electricity is one of the major expenses of a campground operation. Campgrounds are classified as a commercial electric user even though most of the electric is a residential nature. As a new small residential increase in transmission costs was widely debated in open forum, a radical large increase was kept under the radar that took effect in October 2010. This will prove to be a large and costly increase. Some meters’ transmission charges and fees will in some cases triple. Some expenses fall on the consumer. To use the New York State Thruway without an easy pass, certain campers can cost $75 from one end of the state to the next.

2) Competition:

a. Privately owned campgrounds have been competing unfairly with New York State run campsites for decades.

i. Between the Office of Parks and the DEC, state-run parks account for approximately 15,000 campsites. The private sector contains approximately 45,000 campsites statewide.

ii. I would like to point out that camping is a privilege, not a right. I don’t think that subsidizing camping at state run facilities is the best use of taxpayer dollars, considering the many capital updates that the state-run facilities require that could be paid for out of operations.

iii. Many visitors to state-run facilities are from other states and provinces. Out-of-state citizens should at least pay market rate or at a minimum at break even rate. Many other states have two rates for their state-owned facilities giving their residents a “discount.” Why is it that New York state taxpayers are subsidizing out-of-state residents’ vacations?

MONDAY: A closer look at parks in New York.

Delaware Park Plan Faces Stiff Opposition

February 21, 2013 by · Comments Off on Delaware Park Plan Faces Stiff Opposition 

Roughly 200 people turned out in Georgetown, Del., on Tuesday (Feb. 19) to be a part of the public comment session about a proposed RV park in Sussex County.

The Love Creek RV Resort and Campground is being proposed in a 162-acre area just outside of Lewes. The site would be developed for RVs, tents and cabins. But some local neighbors are making their voices heard in opposition to the project, WBOC-TV, Salisbury, Md., reported.

“It may be a great idea, but it’s the wrong location,” said Lawrence Sholler of Lewes.

Many have concerns over the environmental impact to the creek and others are worried about traffic.

“The roads back there are very narrow, they don’t have shoulders, there is already a high incident of accidents on 24, where we live. In fact, trying to get out of our development, because they won’t give us a light, is a nightmare sometimes, just to get out,” said Brian Disney of Lewes.

Project developers say additional environment buffering would be added to the site. Developers call the project a high-end development that would be a job creator for the area. The park would be seasonal, being open from April 1 to Oct. 31.

It is also being billed as a tourism boost during the summer months. But there is no denying the opposition. The county council said it received over 200 letters against the project and 800 signatures on a petition, and just 11 letters in favor.

“I think I can safely say, the majority of people around the campsite do object to it,” said Sholler.

A decision has yet to be made about the park’s future, but much of the public has already made up their mind.

 

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