GF&P Commission considers 30-year deal at Oahe MarinaPIERRE — A tough business decision landed in the laps of state Game, Fish and Parks Commission members Thursday regarding the future of Oahe Marina.
PIERRE — A tough business decision landed in the laps of state Game, Fish and Parks Commission members Thursday regarding the future of Oahe Marina.
The facility suffered heavy damage during the Missouri River flood earlier this year.
The choice facing the commissioners is whether to close the business at it now stands, or give an unprecedented 30-year lease to concessionaire Steve Rounds, of Pierre.
Commissioner Jim McMahon, of Canton, asked for time to read the proposed new lease, which was presented in final form to the commission for the first time Thursday afternoon.
Commission chairman Jeff Olson, of Rapid City, said the matter will be further discussed today when the members resume their meeting.
The state Wildlife Division had difficulties in the past two years in getting a new operator for the marina, located just downstream from Oahe Dam.
Rounds, a brother of then-Gov. Mike Rounds, agreed to a lease in May 2010. He returned later seeking a new 20-year lease in return for making major improvements. That new lease was approved by the commission at its October 2010 meeting.
The marina has a restaurant, bait shop, cabins and boating supplies.
Steve Rounds lived up to his side of the deal, according to Doug Hofer, director for the state Division of Parks and Recreation.
“That work was done over the winter and was completed just in time for the flood,” Hofer said.
Rounds needs to refinance his existing loan in order to make the many repairs that are now needed.
“This is just a good-faith effort on everybody’s part to get through an event that no one had control over,” Hofer said.
The proposed agreement would require that Rounds gets financing for repairs into place before the end of this year in order to qualify for the longer lease.
The lease then would run 30 years, through 2041.
The Parks and Recreation Division has been working with Rounds and his banker, Larry Deiter, of Home Federal Bank in Pierre, during recent weeks.
“Basically there’s an unusable facility at this point in time,” Deiter said.
Rounds has applied for a 30-year disaster loan from the federal Small Business Administration but needs a 30-year lease to qualify.
Deiter said that without the lease extension and the SBA loan the bank would likely have to liquidate and the business torn down.
“The bank would take a loss on this. Steve would take a loss on this,” he said.
The commission earlier Thursday spent about one hour in a closed-doors executive session with Hofer at the start of the meeting.
GFP officials said none of the existing concession leases at state parks and recreation areas run as long as 30 years.