Construction scheduled for Welcome Center at Atwood Lake Park

October 23, 2014

October 23, 2014

This spring, weather permitting, visitors to Atwood Lake Park will see the beginning stages of development for the new welcome center, slated to open in late 2015.  The building, which is a project identified in the Atwood Lake Park Master Plan, will be constructed on the site of the existing gate house. The welcome center will serve as the registration office and park entrance gate. “Campers will be able to pull right up to the window to check in, or returning guests will be able to utilize the pass-through lane, alleviating long lines entering the park” said Tony Luther, Chief of Planning and Projects. “During construction, a temporary gate house will be in place and traffic will be maintained to allow construction to continue through the busy season, although there will be occasions where construction will have to stop due to high traffic volume.” Busy weekends include Memorial Day, the Alive Festival and 4th of July.

“The new Atwood Lake Park Welcome Center combines the gate, registration and administrative offices into a one-stop-shop where guests entering the campground can park their camping units in the truck and trailer parking area and check into their campsite” said Scott Barnhart, MWCD’s Chief of Recreation. “The welcome center will also serve as an information center for the public to obtain information, maps and brochures. This building will assist us in better serving our customers at Atwood Lake Park.”

The MWCD worked with the internationally recognized planning firm of Woolpert Inc.of Dayton, OH, to develop the plan, which has received the approval of the MWCD Board of Directors. A copy of the plan and additional materials and information is available on the MWCD website at The master plan reviews current facilities, amenities and activities, and makes suggestions and recommendations for future development and upgrades for the MWCD-operated locations.

Several steps have been taken to move the process of redevelopment along, a process that may take several years before it is completed in its entirety. “A project manager and parks planner have been contracted to help facilitate and implement the master plan from both a recreation and engineering perspective” Barnhart said. “Much of 2014 has been spent verifying project priorities, performing vital utility surveys to determine current and future utility needs of the parks and marinas, and creating building standards. By developing building standards, for example, the time it takes to develop each individual location will be minimized. These standards will address everything from campsite design, layout of shower buildings, and the look and function of activity centers and welcome centers, while also keeping in mind our customer’s needs, the disruption it will cause, and who will be affected by the construction of the master plan projects.”

“There will be multiple projects under construction during 2015 for master plan improvements,” said Mike Rekstis, Assistant Chief Engineer responsible for Master Plan implementation. “These will be limited to projects that either require little design and permitting, or have been under design during 2014. Construction will ramp up at all parks in the following years. The initial push of master plan implementation work will be the design of improvements. During 2015, the existing master plan “renderings” for each of the five parks will be developed further to a full build out conceptual level. This will allow the engineers to determine the infrastructure needs of each park and to layout the locations for underground utilities, roadways and trails. With this information, construction sequencing will be developed so that construction impacts to the public can be minimized.”

The MWCD, a political subdivision of the state, was organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan to reduce flooding and conserve water for beneficial public uses in the Muskingum River Watershed, the largest wholly contained watershed in Ohio. Since their construction, the 16 reservoirs and dams in the MWCD region have been credited for saving nearly $10 billion worth of potential property damage from flooding, according to the federal government, as well as providing popular recreational opportunities that bolster the region’s economy. A significant portion of the reservoirs are managed by the MWCD and the dams are managed for flood-risk management by the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

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