By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DEXTER - Displeased with the reception he received from the Town Council on Thursday, a local man has dropped a plan to develop a campground on Lake Wassookeag.Joel Costonis of Costonis and Co. said Friday that he was not willing to "risk money, integrity and dedication where fear and resistance to change is the prevailing judge."
Costonis told the council last month that he was interested in leasing and developing the town-owned campground on Lake Wassookeag into a year-round facility. His $400,000 project, which would include the construction of cabins, would help stimulate the local economy, he said.
The council advised Costonis last month that before they could consider his request, he would need to provide them with more detailed information, including a business and financial plan.
Costonis told the council Thursday that he had the financial information but was unwilling to release it publicly nor was he willing to say who was backing his project financially.
When the information requested still was not provided after a second presentation about the proposed project this week, some council members showed their frustration.
Dean Thompson of the council insisted that he did not want to hear anything further on the project until the information requested by the council was provided. Facts and figures are what's needed, council member Fred Banks added.
A few members of the audience told the council that they opposed any plan to privatize the public campground. "Why take our park away from us?" a resident asked. Another suggested that the town would set a precedent if it allowed the campground project, opening the door to similar projects around the lake.
Council member Judy Craig said the response she had received regarding the proposal also was not favorable. She encouraged Costonis to look for private land on which to develop a campground.
After reviewing Thursday's discussion by the council, Costonis said Friday that "all odds are stacked against my plan. The opinion of longtime residents seem to outweigh the benefits of the community. Costonis and Company hereby withdraws any plans for development on the shores of Lake Wassookeag."
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