A legislator who represents the Iowa Great Lakes area says it’s time for the state to unload the “destination park” the state owns in southern Iowa.
“It’s time to sell Honey Creek to the private sector,” says Representative Megan Jones, a Republican from Sioux Rapids.
The state-owned Honey Creek Resort sits along Rathbun Lake in southern Iowa. The state invested $58 million in the project, which includes a hotel, rental cottages, an indoor water park and a golf course. Jones says Honey Creek has proven to be a “money pit” for the state.
“I think there comes to be a point in time where we need to put a ‘for sale’ sign out in front of Honey Creek,” Jones says.
Jones also argues Honey Creek is “unfairly competing” with the state’s other resorts in the state, including some in her legislative district.
“We built the resort. We paid the bonds. We’ve done our part. It is time to get out of the resort business,” Jones said during House debate of a budget bill.
The Honey Creek Resort opened in September of 2008 and operated in the red until the summer of 2014. A state commission recently voted to turn management of the resort over to a private company.
The company will be required to pay the state a million dollars, pay for upgrades to facilities and establish a nearly $9 million reserve fund. The company will be allowed to keep any profits above those financial obligations.