Rumors that Atwood Lake Resort and Golf Club is closing were refuted by Carroll County Commissioners and Atwood executives after commissioners held a June 12 work session regarding the future of the resort.
According to minutes of the June 12 session, the Board of Commissioners met with officials from the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, the county's economic development office, and representatives from Radius Hospitality, which operates the Atwood property, to discuss top concerns and ideas regarding the property's status.
After a preliminary discussion touching on marketing strategies and Atwood's oil and gas contracts, meeting participants agreed that the lease for the property between the county and the MWCD was, as Board President Jeff Ohler stated, "critical" to discuss.
At issue was the lease's requirement that the resort have an 18-hole golf course in operation by this spring, a condition that has not been met.
MWCD Executive Director John Hoopingarner said he would discuss with the MWCD board of directors an amendment to the lease that would change the conditions under which the golf course is required to be constructed and operated.
Hoopingarner suggested that the amendment base the timing of a golf course on Atwood's level of revenue, particularly from oil and gas royalties, rather than on a time frame.
Scott Yaeger, an executive with Radius Hospitality, said Atwood's focus, if the property's royalties reach a certain level, should be on building one 18-hole golf course, which he stated would attract more attendance, instead of an additional 9-hole course, as had been discussed in the past.
Hoopingarner added that he believes the golf course should be an option to consider only after royalties are used to purchase a new HVAC unit and roof and to meet other infrastructure needs.
Atwood's infrastructure, the distribution of possible royalties from oil and gas leases, and the development of a marketing plan to increase revenue for the property were among other issues that participants discussed during the session.
Hoopingarner, along with Board Vice President Robert Wirkner, also recommended that meeting participants design a business model for the property that, as Hoopingarner stated, "incorporates life without royalties," which Wirkner pointed out the Atwood property is not guaranteed to receive.
Commissioner Thomas White stated that the property's identity was another element to consider when developing a marketing plan and business model.
Expressing concern, White mentioned that the use of "resort" in the name of the Atwood property "could be misleading" because the property does not currently offer the types of activities that are associated with a resort.
Carroll County Economic Development Director Glenn Enslen stated that participants at the June 12 session also had to consider how community partnerships with Atwood could factor into a marketing plan for the property.
Yaeger and Randy Budd, Radius Hospitality's vice president of marketing, noted at the session that Radius "is very committed to the lodge and plans to do whatever it takes to make it more successful."
White agreed, stating that he also is "committed to (doing) what it takes to keep the lodge open and the county residents employed."
When the topic of Atwood Resort surfaced at the Board of Commissioners' June 15 meeting, Ohler stated that rumors of Atwood's closing were "not true."
Yaeger, who was present at the June 15 meeting, said he wanted "to make it very clear that this is not true. Radius's intention is not to leave" and the company plans to operate Atwood "as long as the county allows them to be there."
White noted that Enslen is working to obtain grant funding that could be used to enhance the infrastructure and other elements of the Atwood Resort property.
In other business at their June 15 and June 18 meetings, commissioners:
ANNOUNCED that a public hearing about the county's budget for the fiscal year 2016 will be held on Thursday, July 9, at 9:30 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room.
LEARNED that the County Dog Pound report for the week of June 8 through June 13 showed nine dogs impounded, seven adopted, three redeemed, none euthanized, no citations for no license and no citations for running at large.
AGREED to send a contingency fee agreement between the SURE Land Group and Reminger Co., L.P.A. to County Prosecutor Don Burns for his review.
Wirkner explained that the agreement is in relation to legal actions that oil and gas leaseholders and the county might take against Rex Energy regarding deductions listed on royalty statements.
APPROVED county highway right-of-way permits for the following:
R. E. Gas Development LLC to construct a driveway on Arrow Road (C.R. 15) in Harrison Township for the Perry Well Site; Frontier Communications to dig up existing cable and add a PED for new service at 4015 Avalon Road (C.R. 20) in Harrison Township; Frontier to remove a pole and relocate a PED on Bellflower Road in Brown Township; Frontier to replace an existing drop at 5166 Bear Rd. in Loudon Township.
APPROVED a motion to pay $7,200 to contractor Tucson, Inc. for the application of maintenance fertilization at the Chase Road landfill.
ACCEPTED a quote from Poole's Quality Construction for $2,900 for the construction of the commissioners' conference room.
ACCEPTED a quote from Atwood Glass Inc. to replace the windows in the commissioners' office for $5,950.
ACCEPTED the bid of Country Carpet and Flooring, of Minerva, for $4,391 to replace carpet in the commissioners' office.
ACCEPTED the bid of Country Carpet and Flooring, of Minerva, for $7,199 to replace carpet in the Office of the County Auditor.