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Commission seeks new lease

Bridgeport State Park may stay open

— The state Parks and Recreation Commission decided last week that it will seek a new 25-year lease to continue operating Bridgeport State Park.

“At the end of the day, the commission just decided we should go forth and see if we can get that lease renewed,” spokeswoman Virginia Painter said Friday from Chehalis, where the commission hosted its two-day meeting to consider and discuss a number of topics.

The state’s lease with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expires in September 2015. The agency now has until April 30 to send in its application.

“That’s excellent news,” Mayor Marilynn Lynn said. “My thoughts go immediately to all the future collaboration and connections the city of Bridgeport, its community, and the Bridgeport State Park can achieve over the next 25 years. The ability of the state parks to now participate in the economic development in a greater, hands-on way will be beneficial to everyone involved.”

State parks officials hosted a meeting March 13 in Bridgeport to gather local input on whether it should seek a lease renewal, and they were met with unanimous approval from the nine residents who attended.

“This is a huge economic driver for this north end of the county,” Douglas County Commissioner Steve Jenkins said at the meeting. “It’s well used; it’s got a great reputation… My preference is to stay with the state parks.”

Some ideas bandied about at the March 13 meeting included expanding the Lake Woods Golf Course to 18 holes, making the golf course the concessionaire to manage the RV park, developing wintertime park use and working with the Colville Confederated Tribes, which has also indicated an interest in leasing the land.

“I think the commission would be open to working with the tribe or the Army Corps, but it just depends on everyone else’s capacity and interest in doing that,” Painter said.

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