Board decides not to vie for forest- concessionaire’s responsibilities

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Sports Editor
CANNELTON – The Perry County Parks & Recreation Department decided Wednesday not to bid on managing concessions and admission fees at area Hoosier National Forest facilities.

The current concessionaire’s contract expires at the end of this year and bids will soon be taken for a new five-year contract. A county official had suggested the county parks board might be interested in bidding on the contract as a way to raise revenue for its projects.
Parks board President Dan Peter and county recreation director Adam Tempel met with Hoosier National Forest officials Dec. 3 to discuss details of what the contract would involve. But they recommended to the parks board at Wednesday’s meeting that the board not bid on the contract, and the board concurred.
“It’s like buying a business,” said Tempel, noting the parks department “would be responsible for everything” at the forest service sites, including maintenance, mowing, trash pickup and disposal, etc.
After hearing Tempel’s remarks, parks-board member Rick Newton said, “The bottom line is we don’t want to do it.”
“Not now,” agreed Tempel.
The board then authorized Tempel to send a letter to Hoosier National Forest officials explaining why it would decline to make a bid.
In other business, the board decided to again run a 5-kilometer road race in association with the Derby Fest in 2013.
The parks board ran the 2012 race for the fest and made $1,000 on it. But the 2013 fest has been moved up from October to June 22, which means planning for the run will take place during Tempel’s busiest time of the year and the race cannot be publicized during the Schweizer Fest Road Run, which takes place in August.
The board had considered running its own race in Derby in October, separate from the Derby Fest.
Board member Pat Clark said Wednesday, though, “It appears to be a good thing to be associated with the Derby Fest rather than being there on our own.”
Newton agreed. “I think the pros (of keeping the race with the Derby Fest) outweigh the cons,” he said.
Peter noted, “There are advantages to having it in June because the high-school kids can run. That may be 50 extra runners.”
Many area high school cross country runners run the Schweizer Fest race every year but they are not allowed to run outside road races in October, during their high-school season.
The board also approved some year-end purchases since there was a little money left in its 2012 budget.
They included a Stihl chainsaw from Howell’s Garage for $374.96 and a 16-foot, 7,000-pound, tandem-axle trailer (to haul mulch, mowers and other equipment) for $1,880.