Charlene Sims, Journal staff
Linn County Park's cabin business improves bottom line
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
MOUND CITY – The Linn County Commissioners learned on Monday, Nov. 7, that the Linn County Park so far this year has made about $40,000 over expenses.
Park Manager Sheri Loveland said that she believed the park missed out on significant income because of not having televisions and Wi-Fi in the cabins. She said that Nowak, the company working on the sewer at La Cygne, had wanted to book whatever cabins were available for a year.
But after staying a little over a month and paying nearly $5,000, the company decided to move to other facilities.
In a later telephone interview, Loveland said that many larger expenses were taken out of the park budget this year including about $4,000 for a new boat ramp and courtesy dock, nearly $12,000 for a new mower, and about $6,000 in truck repairs.
Loveland said that the park was completely packed over Memorial Day and Labor Day. She said she thought that not having a pool hurt the park’s attendance on the July Fourth holiday.
Commissioner Danny McCullough encouraged Loveland to continue to work with Airbnb with the cabins. He pointed out that the income from Airbnb for one cabin was over $3,700 for the first nine months in 2022.
Loveland said that if they continued with Airbnb, the park would need to hire another person to clean the cabins between guests. Right now, they have a person who cleans Mondays and Fridays but that is not enough when cabins are rented to Airbnb guests.
She explained that the cabins that are not on Airbnb make about $50 per night but the people have to bring their own sheets and towels. She has the Airbnb cabin are set up for a minimum of a two-night stay because of the labor and cost of cleaning and washing linens (which are provided for that cabin.) The Airbnb cabins bring in about $67 per day.
Loveland told the commissioners that the word is getting out about the park and more people are coming there. She said that she had taken brochures to Linn County libraries and post offices.
She also said the cabins would be rent more often and for a higher price if they had televisions and Wi-Fi. She also said that the older cabins needed some updating if they were going to be put on Airbnb.
Other issues brought up by Loveland were the boat slips that either needed to be repaired or replaced. The income from the boat slips was over $700 since the first of the year. The rates to rent a boat slip at present are $3 a day.
Loveland said that the park rates were very low compared to other businesses in the area. She reported that Rutlader Outpost RV Park fee for camping spot with 50 amp full hookup for one night was $40, while at the park the charge was $18.
For a week at Rutlader the fee was $250, and at the park it is $126. For a month at Rutlader the cost is $725 vs. $540 for the park.
Commissioner Rick James asked what the percentage of the people coming to the park were Linn County residents. Loveland said that was a hard question, but she estimated about 40 percent.
James asked if Loveland thought the residents of Linn County should get a break on fees when they use the park.
Loveland said that Linn County residents only had to pay $15 for a yearly parking and boat launch pass while non-residents had to pay $25. Loveland said that there was no way to set up the machine that takes camping fees to recognize if it was a Linn County resident.
Cabin rental income has gone up to $46,520 this year. Loveland thinks that other fees at the park also need to be increased to keep up with similar businesses in the area.
Commissioner Rick James asked if there was anything that was needed to increase sales at the park’s marina. Loveland explained her markup on food items and the loss that was involved.
The commissioners thanked Loveland for her work at building up the park and suggested that she contact Kansas Wildlife Biologist Don George to see if there were any grants available for improvements to the docks. She said she would also contact Kansas Tourism about funds for improvements.
McCullough recommended into checking about outdoor recreational grants. Public Works Director Shaun West said that the county had missed some of those opportunities while waiting for Evergy to get back with them about the contract.
Evergy, formerly Kansas City Power and Light, leases the park land to the county and the contract renewal has been stalled for more than a year.