Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
By Shelley Grieshop
County raises 4-H campground rental fee
  CELINA - The cost to rent the Harbor Point 4-H Campgrounds has doubled.
Mercer County Commissioners on Tuesday raised the rental fee from $50 to $100 per day to offset utility costs at the 7-acre, county-owned site east of Celina. Commissioners also raised overnight fees from 30 cents to 80 cents per person/per night.
The rental fee has remained $50 since at least 1985, officials said. A $50 deposit was left unchanged.
Commissioner Bob Nuding said the overnight charge needed to increase.
"The 80 cents is a big thing because the people who stay overnight use the most water and electric," he said.
Income from rental fees this year totaled $1,573, double the amount collected in 2011. However, the water bill for June and July was $2,288. Electric costs for two of the summer months was $470, and the natural gas bill was $213. The county also pays for a dumpster, insurance, lawn care and other miscellaneous expenses.
Commissioners said they felt the new prices were still reasonable for the amenities offered at the campground near the lake, south of state Route 703. The property includes a kitchen/dining building, several dorms and cabins, restroom facilities, volleyball and basketball courts and a large yard for outdoor activities.
Various groups use the facility including Scouts, high school bands and large family get-togethers. No rental fee is charged by the county for the annual 4-H camp each June, and campers' fees will not be affected by the new rates, officials said.
The campgrounds formerly was owned by Dr. Robert Riley and his wife, who sold the land to the county commissioners in 1936 for $1. During World War II, it was used as a prisoner of war camp. In 1944, about 300 German war prisoners occupied the camp and were tapped to pick tomatoes for canneries in Rockford, Celina and St. Henry, according to local historians.
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