By Jessica Ruffcorn
Dayton Chronicle Reporter 

Marina KOA update requirements evaluated


November 16, 2023

DAYTON–The Port of Columbia Commissioners heard an update on Lyon's Ferry Marina and concerns regarding keeping the KOA Holiday branding at the November 8 meeting.

The Port previously determined that the Lyon's Ferry Marina needs to install a minimum of 10 pull-through spaces and another bathroom facility to maintain the KOA Holiday branding. The cost was estimated at $1.2 million of which Port Director Jennie Dickinson budgeted $100,000. Grant applications for such a project is not due until February so commissioners must come to a decision before then because the RCO grants are only available every two years.

Currently the Port receives $16,200 annually in rent from the concessionaires and the Port commits $20,000 in maintenance and capital funds. "We are in very good shape," Dickinson said. "Our subsidy is very small compared to other port districts." Recent updates and maintenance over the last several years have gained the marina high marks in the annual reviews by the Corps of Engineers, Department of Health, and KOA, Dickinson said.

Concessionaire JoAnn Knouf detailed benefits of a KOA and the financial loss of not maintaining the KOA Holiday branding. Knouf explained the benefits provided by KOA and what would be lost without the KOA, such as software, business development, facility design services, and advertising. "If we lose the KOA, these are items that would come out of the concessionaires' pocket to replace and could be anywhere between $10-$50,000," Knouf said.

In addition, she stated many travelers who drive by will stop because they see the KOA sign and know what to expect. "Of the 10 pull-throughs at 75% occupancy in the camping season we could potentially make over $100,000 in 10 years," Knouf said. "And on top of that, we normally see the same increase in the store as we see in the park and that's another $90,000 that we could potentially see."

The concessionaires are looking to apply for two grants, one for $1 million that could possibly have minimal to no match required, and the other at $1.4 million requiring a 25% match, but that match could come from securing parts or providing the labor.

In reference to a deadline to have the pull-through spaces implemented in order to retain the KOA status, Knouf stated if progress is evident, the KOA brand stays. "KOA reviews us every year when they come out for their inspection and as long as we are moving forward on getting those pull-throughs put in, we can keep our KOA status," said Knouf. "Once they see that there is no forward movement into getting those, then we can lose our KOA status. They will be back out again in June."

-File photo

Lyons Ferry Marina and KOA Campground

More discussion is needed on the topic.

In other business, the board approved the 2024 budget. No other discussion was needed to this action.


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