ALBION — The two or three decent camping sites at Hidden Diamonds Park will be closing Oct. 1 — forever.
The Albion Park Board voted June 13 to end camping, citing a poor ratio of revenue compared to the work involved. Reservations will still be accepted through that date.
Parks Department Superintendent Casey Myers announced the decision at the June 14 meeting of the Albion Town Council.
“It’s hard for me, but I know it’s the right thing to do,” Myers said of the decision.
The parks board charges $20 per night.
The entire process is time consuming, Myers said, citing the time to take a call from a person making an inquiry, called back to make a reservation and staff sees to it that the RV is parked appropriately.
“We might have 5-7 hours in,” Myers said.
Scheduling is a hassle, too, on at least two fronts.
For one thing, Myers said most of the calls come in Friday after 5 pm For another, calls that come to the offices at the Albion Municipal Building frequently require someone answering questions from off-site, with no knowledge of whether conditions are suitable for an RV.
“It’s challenging,” Albion Clerk-Treasurer Carol Selby said.
Many people call about the Hidden Diamonds sites once they learn the Chain O’ Lakes State Park is full and has no camping sites available.
Council president Vicki Jellison asked Myers why the practice was not immediately halted. Myers said the park board wanted to honor reservations already paid to camp at Hidden Diamonds in the coming months.
Myers said provisions have been made to allow for carnival workers to still camp at Hidden Diamonds during the annual Chain O’ Lakes Festival.
The park board is still tossing around ideas on what to do with the space the current sites take up near the entrance to the park itself. Options discussed include placing a proposed skate park at that location, placing a pavilion there or installing sand volleyball courts.
Myers announced the next Albion Parks Board meeting will take place beginning at noon on July 11 at Hidden Diamonds Park.
Also at the June 13 meeting:
• Albion Town Councilman Don Shultz praised Councilwoman Chris Magnuson for the recently-completed Chain O’ Lakes Festival. Magnuson has been the lead organizer for the event for years, with the 2022 being the last with her at the helm.
“I want to thank Chris for a great week at the festival,” Shultz said.
“I want to thank everyone else,” Magnuson said in response. It takes a village to put on the fair, the whole village.”
She praised the work of town workers in particular with helping to make the festival a success.
Myers added his appreciation for Chain O’ Lakes Festival Committee member Sharon Leitch, who is also retiring. Leitch has been on the committee for 32 years.
• Myers gave a reminder to the council that fireworks will be fired off on Friday, July 1, at the Central Noble School campus.
• Wastewater Department Superintendent Terry Forker told the council that the company installing new equipment at the town’s sewer lagoons would be in town June 27. Equipment for the process, which is hoped will help the town meet Indiana Department of Environmental Management limits for ammonia released as effluent, has already begun to arrive.
Forker also told the council he was getting ready to install the last 26 radio reads for water meters, which will allow the town to collect data without having to read meters in person.
“We have them,” Forker said of the final 26. “We don’t have to wait on them.”