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Patterson Lake facility project accepts feasibility study

A citizen task force attempting to bring a waterfront recreation facility to Patterson Lake voted on Tuesday to accept a feasibility study that looked favorably on a potential $5.17 million facility.

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Scott Decker

A citizen task force attempting to bring a waterfront recreation facility to Patterson Lake voted on Tuesday to accept a feasibility study that looked favorably on a potential $5.17 million facility.

Still, members of the Patterson Lake Task Force, the veteran-oriented group driving the lakeside project, questioned some of the projected costs and income streams associated with the full concept.

The facility as studied in the market analysis presented by Colorado-based THK Associates examined an 18,480 square foot facility that would house a restaurant, marina, event hall and convenience retail store.

Gaylon Baker, Stark Development Corp. executive vice president and a task force member, said the group might focus on building support "piece by piece," rather than going all in at one time.

"We're counting on those good, long-term people who will use what's developed there," Baker said. "Once they do that, they'll be more enthused about lake, and as that builds we'll add what we can and keep building."

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Dickinson City Commission President Scott Decker, the task force's lake chair, agreed with the concept of "putting up something small and gauging traffic."

"A smaller building can be readily added to when we get the bigger scale," Decker said, adding that he thought the market study's numbers for the full building were "a little bit of a shock."

Decker also questioned the leasing potential for a lakeside facility, given that the land is owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Even with an agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation, he said, an increase to the rental rate for the land could change the business model for any planned facility.

"All of a sudden, you could have a $5 million building sitting there and you can't afford the land beneath it," Decker said.

James Kramer, Dickinson Parks and Recreation director and another task force member, said the project would be held to a different, likely lower, rental rate than is applied to the homes on the lake, but said he'd need to research the matter further.

After the group discussed methods to increase usage of the lake's existing facilities, task force chair and state Rep. Alan Fehr guided the members into considering a strategic plan to organize their efforts moving forward.

"Other than just saying, 'Let's have another meeting,' what other things do we need to do?" Fehr asked.

The board will meet again in August to better finalize that strategy.

Related Topics: PATTERSON LAKE
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