A state park near Mitchell: the best Vision 2000 idea that never caught on

I wrote a story for Saturday’s edition about Vision 2000, the local planning initiative that preceded Focus 2020.

As I dug through all of the old Vision 2000 documents that I could find in preparation for writing the story, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Vision 2000 committee members recommended pushing for a state park near Mitchell.

Back in 2007, when I knew nothing of that earlier Vision 2000 recommendation, I wrote a story that said Mitchell was the farthest of any of the state’s 10 largest cities from a state park. It was something that had been bugging me for quite a while, because I love to kayak, hike and camp. It doesn’t seem right that I or anybody else in a city as big as Mitchell should have to drive so far to get to a state park or recreation area (Lake Vermillion Recreation Area, at about 45 miles distant, is the closest to Mitchell).

Vision 2000′s recommendation and my story had the same impact, which is to say none at all. I’m puzzled as to why there hasn’t been a bigger push to put a state park near Mitchell. Jim Beddow, who was the leader of Vision 2000, feels the same way. "I think it was a very meritorious idea," he told me. Still, it’s rarely if ever discussed these days and has not been proposed by Focus 2020.

There are lots of areas along the James River that would be great locations for a state park. As noted by Vision 2000 members, having a state park near Mitchell might make the city more of a weekend destination for people from the region. It might also encourage more out-of-state RVers to stay overnight, rather than just stopping for an hour at the Corn Palace.

The objection that always comes up is that the city already has a great campground at Lake Mitchell, and a state park would be repetitive. That’s something that would have to be ironed out, for sure, but I don’t think it should be a deal-breaker.

Am I the only one who thinks this idea deserves consideration?

8 thoughts on “A state park near Mitchell: the best Vision 2000 idea that never caught on

  1. I hope the city council does not get rid of the lake mitchell campground and keep it under the park dept. that is the talk.

  2. I don’t think we have enough information to make the judgement on the State Park, or for anything that these centralized planning activities come up with. The fundamental problem with economic development through government is the separation of the costs from the benefits. If we did look at both sided of the cost/benefit equation, then many of the activities would not be approved.

    And second, if the benefits were accurately determined, then those who benefit the most would be exposed. And then that leaves to question, why don’t they pay for the costs instead of the taxpayers.

  3. Well said Steve, and I don’t always agree with you. We need to quit asking government to fund every wish we can come up with. How many of you are paying $3,000, $5,000 or more a year in property taxes? How much in Sales Tax? Tax freedom day moves closer and closer to Christmas every year. Every one of these “projects” is touted to bring new money to Mitchell. Have you ever gotten your share??

  4. There is only one place where we get all the wonderful government funded projects…from the pockets of the taxpayers, that’s who. Less government. LESS GOVERNMENT!

  5. We need to stop all government projects. Who needs schools, roads, and all that junk? Tax freedom day should be January 1st every year.

  6. Oh, yes, let’s let everyone pay their own way. Let’s let families support those that can’t. Let’s quit being neighbors. Every Man for Himself! Nice world.
    Some where along the line we need to help those that cannot help themselves, and insist those that can………do it.

  7. I said less government. I didn’t say we don’t “need schools, roads, etc” There is a lot of wasteful spending with government projects, but please don’t include schools and roads in that category. I DO think we are already supporting those who can’t support themselves. I just don’t like the wasteful government projects and there are tons of them.

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