County purchase of Edgewater moves forward

Scott Swanson

Edgewater RV Park and Marina will soon be owned and operated by Linn County after the Board of Commissioners signed a $775,000 purchase and sale agreement last week for the property, which was in foreclosure by OSU Federal Credit Union.

County Parks Director Brian Carroll said it’s a done deal “as long as conditions are met” and that the county wants to take it over as soon as possible.

“I think all parties are in agreement on that,” he said, noting that the intent is to make the transition as seamless as possible for customers.

“We want to move ahead with that so it will be done this spring before the tourism season starts,” he said.

Carroll said he plans to look closely at the business model established by Steve Leith and Dan McGarry, who developed the resort and marina beginning in 2008, only to fall victim to the recession.

The RV park has 49 spaces and the marina has 40 slips, with a permit from the U.S. Corps of Engineers allowing up to 148 slips.

Though Leith and McGarry originally planned to build a high-end steakhouse-type restaurant and a lodge-type facility, Carroll said it’s too early “to say either way” what the county would do about that.

“We don’t want to be in competition with restaurants and stores in town,” he said. “We do that at Clear Lake, but that’s a complete different thing. There’s no competition there.”

He said it’s possible that the county could contract with a private concessionaire in the future, but the more immediate focus will be on determining whether to expand the marina.

“If it is indeed as popular as they say, if it’s filling up, we’re certainly looking to expand that,” he said. “If it makes practical business sense to do that, we would simply consider doing that.”

Carroll said that competition with private enterprise was a strong concern, but when “legitimate buyers” failed to materialize, county officials decided to go for it.

“For us, the fact that we’ve got resources already in the area, that plays a big role. If this was somewhere where we didn’t have resources and assets already, we probably wouldn’t have done it.

“Foster and Green Peter lakes are the biggest recreation assets in our county. Keeping them viable for tourism is important to the community.”