Howard Prairie upgrades are coming

I read your story in (Friday's) Mail Tribune about Jackson County making almost a quarter of a million dollars running the Howard Prairie Resort. I was a little concerned when I first heard they were going to run the show up there because I didn't want it to lose its appeal. To me, this first year went pretty well up there, and I am glad it will remain open.

Now that the county made some money up there, when are they going to make some improvements to it?

— RM, email submission

Jackson County netted almost $50,000 more for running Howard Prairie Resort then it got when the resort was run by the last concessionaire, Joel and Holly LeGrande. At the same time, the county did do some improvements, and more are on the way, says John Vial, the county's roads and parks director.

The county spent $4,500 replacing the walk-in cooler unit at the resort's restaurant, which is operated by the Mount Ashland Association for the county. Workers also spent time and money fixing neglected water and electrical systems there as well, Vial says.

But expect to see some more changes in store for the start of the 2014 fishing and camping season at the resort.

Work crews have just finished building a new restroom funded by $238,000 in grants.

Also, the Oregon State Marine Board will pay $15,000 for a new boat waste dump station at the marina, and the station is expected to be in place for the late April start of the fishing season at the High Cascades lake east of Ashland, Vial says.

The federal Bureau of Reclamation will pay $264,000 to upgrade the electrical and potable water systems at the campground, including upping the amperage from 20 to 50 to accommodate larger motor homes, Vial says. That work could be done next fall, he says.

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