Lake Wassookeag vandalism costly for Dexter
By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DEXTER - It is a place where the public can change into swimwear, clean the beach sand off small children, and use a toilet when necessary, but unfortunately, it also is a place for vandals to ruin.And vandals have done just that to the town-owned campground facilities on Lake Wassookeag - so much so that the Town Council is contemplating closing the campground.
A public hearing will be held on the matter at the May 13 meeting, and action is expected by the council that night.
In order for the town to offer a campground to the public, it must comply with state law that requires the availability of certain items, such as hot and cold running water, showers, toilets, urinals and lavatories, according to Dexter Town Manager Robert Simpson. Several of those items in the town facility are now in "borderline compliance" with the Department of Human Services, he told the Town Council on Thursday.
"During the last few years, our ability to provide the minimum required services has become more and more difficult and costly for the town," Simpson said.
Vandals repeatedly have clogged sewer lines, broken shower heads, ripped fixtures from walls, and have broken windows from the bathhouse. At the same time, the town is having difficulty maintaining the septic system and water supply to the facility. The septic system has been repaired three of the last five years, he said.
"One of the fixes for this is to close it down," Simpson said, and convert it to picnic use only. Or the town can choose to commit the resources necessary to adequately maintain and operate the facility and better supervise it, he said.
"It's become very, very costly, and at the same time, our income from the campground has gone down," the town manager said.
The town spent about $5,000 last year to maintain the campground, yet received only $280 in revenue.
Councilor Judy Craig suggested Thursday that the town could offer free rent at the campground to someone willing to watch over the facilities.
"I would just hate to see, economically, the campground closed down," she said.
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