Missouri State Parks to renovate CCC lodge

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Bill Bryan, right, director of Missouri State Parks, speaks with people interested in the new projects shaping up at Roaring River State Park. Bryan was at The Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center Wednesday night, announcing the renovation of the old CCC lodge at the park. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

State Parks director says project like to be at least $1 million

Missouri State Parks is in the beginning phases of a renovation project at Roaring River State Park, planning to spend state general revenue money to renovate the old CCC lodge near the river mouth.

Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks announced the project Wednesday night at the Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center, saying the impending renovations are likely to total $1 million.

"We just got the blueprints in Tuesday and it will probably be around a $1 million renovation, but we still have to put the project out for bids for contractors," he said. "This will be a great place to stay that overlooks the river, and it's what the CCC lodge was originally built for. We looked at different things to do with it and decided we should use it for its original purpose."

The lodge has two floors, with four units on the second floor, complete with kitchenettes and Murphy beds, along with a main bedroom. The bottom floor will also likely have a unit or two, but will also have spaces for meetings and special events.

Bryan said the work will begin as quickly as possible, as Missouri State Parks hopes to have all contractors in place by the end of this fiscal year, in June 2015.

"I think we're looking at months," Bryan said. "We'll get the plans done and the bids and contractors by June, and hopefully, quicker than that."

The project will be funded through a general revenue appropriation from the Missouri General Assembly, and Bryan said it marks the first time the legislature has given general revenue to the parks since 1990.

"We appreciate the confidence the General Assembly has given us," Bryan said. It's something we take very seriously and we want to be good stewards of general tax dollars. Projects like this do that."

The Missouri State Park system is funded 75 percent by the 1/10-cent parks, soils and water sales tax, which is evenly split between Missouri State Parks and the Soil and Water Conservation Program. The other 25 percent of the State Parks' funding comes from things like usage and camping fees.

The parks, soils and water tax was last approved by Missouri voters by a 71 percent to 29 percent margin, and the levy will return to the ballot again in 2016.

Bryan, who is based in Jefferson City, said he made the trip to Roaring River on Wednesday because there is a special connection between Cassville and Roaring River, and he wanted to show his appreciation for that.

"Cassville is more than a gateway community for Roaring River, and it's not just a stop at the grocery store for people that come here," he said. "Cassville is really part of the park, and they embrace it unlike anywhere else. We have a lot of great communities, but none quite like Cassville. It's important enough that I wanted to be here to show my appreciation."

Bryan said Wednesday's trip will not be his last to the area, as he is excited to stay in the lodge when it is completed.

"I hope to spend the first night in the lodge in one of those rooms," he said.

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