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State finds faults at Monitor Bay campground

CROWNPOINT-The future of Crown Point's Monitor Bay campground is in question.

The town has been notified by the state Department of Health that it will not be granted a 2011 campground permit until electrical safety and potable water issues are resolved.

Local officials will meet with engineers to determine exactly what needs to be done to meet state regulations and how much the work will cost, Supervisor Bethany Kosmider said.

"We do not know yet what will happen with Monitor Bay," Kosmider said. "It is a source of revenue for the town and we do not want to close it."

In 2010 Monitor Bay campground generated $15,000 for the town.

Kosmider said the Department of Health has found that waste water was discharged from camping trailers directly onto the ground. It also found the campground lacks sufficient electricity to operate the air conditioners, televisions and other items brought along by campers.

Those situations must be corrected before the state will issue a permit for 2011 to operate the campground, Kosmider said.

But at what cost? Will the upgrades cost more than the revenue generated by the campground?

"We just don't know yet," the supervisor said. "We have a meeting with engineers March 28; hopefully we'll get some answers.

"Our goal is to keep the campground open," Kosmider said. "But, if we're not in compliance we can't open. We don't want someone to get sick or hurt."

In a worse case scenario, Monitor Bay campground may have to close temporarily.

"We would never just close, although we may have to close for a while," Kosmider said. "I'd like to find a way to complete these upgrades the state wants while remaining open. I don't know if that's possible."

Another issue cited by the state is the campground's size. Last year the state approved 42 sites for the campground. In a review, the state discovered the campground was actually expanded from 14 sites to 42 in 2009 without proper planning and permits.

"It has grown without proper permits or planning and we have to fix some issues that were addressed by the DOH," Kosmider said. "The town board increased the sites at Monitor Bay without approval or permits prior to 2009."

If the state limits the town-owned campground to 14 sites, the supervisor said, the facility may not generate enough revenue to justify its existence.

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