Gov. Nixon cuts ribbon at CCC Lodge

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Gov. Jay Nixon, center, cuts the ribbon to signify the reopening of the CCC Lodge at Roaring River State Park Friday afternoon. Also pictured, from left, are: Kerry Hays, manager of Roaring River State Park; State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob; Gary Schad, Barry County northern commissioner; Nixon; Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks; Wayne Hendrix, Barry County southern commissioner; Cherry Warren, Barry county presiding commissioner; and Kim Toddy, assistant supervisor Ozarks district for Missouri State Parks. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Historical building at Roaring River renovated, ready for use

Gov. Jay Nixon, left, shakes hands with Barry County Southern Commissioner Wayne Hendrix after cutting the ribbon to reopen the CCC Lodge at Roaring River State Park Friday. Also pictured are Bill Bryan, left middle, director of Missouri State Parks, and Barry County Presiding Commissioner Wayne Hendrix. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

For the second time in just more than two month, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon made the hike to Roaring River State Park, this time to cut the ribbon on a piece of the park's history that has received new life.

The CCC Lodge, which has not been available for lodging for the past 40 years, has officially opened its doors to park-goers, with the first reservations already booked for Sunday.

"In 1933, the great depression left millions without work," Nixon said. "The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration helped develop Roaring River from 1933 to 1939, and this lodge became the centerpiece of the park.

"It is only fitting to restore the lodge to its original use and honor its historical legacy."

Nixon and Bill Bryan, Missouri State Parks director, each lauded how Roaring River has become a traditional waypoint for families across the country, and they hoped the lodge's reopening would give those families new memories to carry with them in future years.

Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a crowd of about 50 people gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the CCC Lodge Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

"This [renovation] has been a long time coming," Nixon said. "To return it to its great original purpose as a lodge marks a great day for the state of Missouri."

Nixon said he had hoped to stay in the lodge Friday night, but plans to do so did not come to fruition. He did, however, say he will be returning to the park.

"I was just here for Opening Day, but the first lady and I hold this park very dear, not just for the fishing, but also for all the hiking trails, which are good for seeing beautiful wildflowers and [fall foliage]," he said. "Rest assured, Georganne [Nixon] and I will be coming back."

Nixon even made his own special mark inside the lodge, as an area of the interior wall in the middle of the stairs near the top floor was removed, revealing a section where WPA workers signed the lodge's wooden frame. Nixon penned his signature and the year of the renovation next to the original workers' signatures in honor of the renovation and return of lodging in the building.

Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a crowd of about 50 people gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the CCC Lodge Friday. Bill Bryan, Missouri State Parks director, is also pictured with Nixon. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

A $1.2 million renovation, rooms in the lodge are available for reservations beginning Sunday. The four rooms on the first level feature balcony views of the river, while the three rooms on the top floor feature window views. Two of the rooms feature original fireplaces. The lower level also includes a banquet room and kitchen for special events.

David Waugh, manager for general concessions at the park, said although the first full week is booked and some have reserved rooms in October already, rooms are still available for Sunday.

The four rooms on the lower level are $139 per night, and the three top-level rooms are priced at $119 per night. A rate for the meeting space on the bottom floor has yet to be determined. Existing staff, who work at the Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center and the cabins at the park, will also work in the newly-available lodge rooms.

"It's really exciting," Waugh said. "When I came here from Bennet Springs, the park store was still in this building, so this was my introduction to Roaring River State Park. I have had a lot of good conversations and heard a lot of good fishing stories here, and I used to give lessons in the grassy area [north of the lodge].

Gov. Jay Nixon, left, smiles as he holds up his Missouri State Parks passport, which will be handed out to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Missouri State Parks later this year. Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks, put a stamp on Nixon's passport signifying his visit to Roaring River. "Only 89 more to go," Nixon said. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

For more information about reserving a room, people may call the Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center at 417-847-2330.

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