State officials admit the new “Honey Creek Resort State Park” in southern Iowa is struggling to pay off what is, essentially, its mortgage. Pat Boddy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says day-to-day operations are in the black, but they’ve fallen short in retiring the debt taken on to build the resort.
The D.N.R.is covering the balance and Boddy says her agency may ask legislators to find more money for the resort. “The Department of Natural Resources is bearing the burden almost entirely,” Boddy told lawmakers. “We would like to figure out a way to spread that piece.” A Republican lawmaker told Boddy: “Good luck with that.”
Honey Creek has a lodge and hotel, a restaurant, cabins for rent and a golf course, but all the construction on the project has not finished. Boddy says a “contingency plan” calls for diverting money for the remaining construction to make the December debt payment.
“But those bond payments are two times a year and they’re ongoing,” she says. “This is going to be an ongoing challenge until this facility has more history under its belt and has gained all of the traction it needs to completely take off.”
Members of the Legislative Oversight Committee asked Boddy to provide them with more financial information about the resort’s operations. Honey Creek sits near Rathbun Lake and has been billed as the state’s first “destination” park. In addition to the 18-hole golf course, Honey Creek has an indoor water park. A one-bedroom cabin for a Sunday through Thursday night stay costs $159. There is a 105-room hotel in addition to the 28 luxury cabins.