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MINERAL CITY -- The Atwood Lake Park manager says "the views will be phenomenal" from a new camping area that is under construction at the park.
"The views these people will get will be really neat," said Aaron Stump, who manages the park for the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.
Beaver Excavating of Canton is the contractor for a $6.8 million project to construct 142 full hookup camping sites and a new bath and shower house on 16.4 acres at the park. A new shelter pavilion and playground are also planned.
Each campsite will have a sewer connection, water connection, 50-amp electrical service, a concrete pad for campers and a concrete patio for each camper. They can accommodate recreational vehicles or pop-up campers.
"The 50-amp service is really big," Stump said. "Right now, we currently offer 30-amp service to our campers, and we'll be increasing that. You will be able to run all the latest gadgets out there."
The bath and shower house will be similar in appearance to the new welcome center at the park and will include laundry facilities. Workers have already completed the shell of the building and are now working on the interior, the duct work and the plumbing.
"So it'll be a one-stop shopping experience for our campers, something that we currently don't have right now," Stump said. "We're really excited. There's a lot of buzz about this right now."
The project is being paid for by the MWCD with revenue from its oil and gas leases.
Park officials plan to have the bath and shower house completed in time for the popular Alive Christian music festival, which is scheduled to run July 19-22. In addition, 75 of the campsites will be ready before Alive starts.
After the Alive festival, the MWCD will be shutting down those sites because Beaver Excavating has to complete the rest of the campground, said Eric Stechschulte, the conservancy district's deputy chief for planning and projects.
"We're shutting down for the remainder of the year and then in the spring of 2018 open for our first full year," he said.
Future plans include construction of a special events and entertainment facility in 2018 near the new campgrounds, Stump said. "That's what this park will be themed after."
The annual Atwood Fall Festival will be held at the new facility once it opens, he said.
Park officials are also considering bringing Wi-Fi to the campground area. "It's definitely on the radar list, and it will be coming shortly," Stump said. "Exactly how that happens, we have our IT (information technology) department working on that right now, getting that all in place."
The entire campground area will be landscaped once construction is complete. Hardwood trees that are native to the area, including more than 200 oak trees, will be planted at the site, Stechschulte said.
Sidewalks and trails that connect into existing trails are also planned.
Stump said he was appreciative of all the people who played a part in this project.
"It's been so neat seeing so many people involved," he said. "I think it will be extremely well done and worth the wait."