July 18, 2024

Repairing Three Mile Lodge, office begins

Union County Conservation office at Three Mile Lake was destroyed during the April 26 tornadoes. Staff continues to assess damage and property inside.

Union County Conservation board was informed Tuesday of the beginning of the repairs at the lodge and department’s office at Three Mile Lake. Both were extensively damaged during the April 26 storms and tornado.

Conservation Director Doug Jones said the first payment for the fix has been approved by insurance to LJ Roth for $26,887. The department’s insurance suggested Roth for his experience working with those type of buildings.

The agreement is a 90-day schedule to repair both the lodge and office from the first date of payment. Conservation officials were concerned how quickly the fix could start knowing the lodge building was still exposed to ensuing rains even though attempts were made to cover the openings in the roof. The department has since been operating from the lake park ranger’s basement. Dozens of events scheduled at the lodge were forced to find another venue.

“The big stuff is easier,” Jones said, referring to the buildings.

He is still working with insurance on replacing the department’s tools and other items for the lodge and office.

“Sofa sleepers, trailers, vehicles,” Jones said. “Anywhere from a $10 item up to $7,000. It’s not a complete list.”

Jones estimated the items total about $60,000 with about $20,500 just for the lodge.

“We look at the pile of stuff found and we still don’t know everything we lost,” he said.

In a related matter, the board approved the sale of a department vehicle that was damaged in the storm and considered a loss by insurance. The department purchased the Ford pickup from insurance for $5,400. The board then asked for bids to sell the pickup. Kevin Glick’s bid of $6,501 was approved.

In other conservation news...

Jones said preliminary work and bids are still in progress for the two new lodges planned for Three Mile. Plans are being made for water, sewer, a parking lot and dirt work. Those construction agreements are under a 50-day contract, but a rain day is not considered a work day.

The cabins are planned to be three bedrooms, one bathroom with a loft. The loft will be open space allowing additional sleeping area. The cabins will measure about 28 feet by 44 feet plus an 8-feet covered porch at the entrance. The cabins will be handicap accessible and have full kitchen and laundry services. Two of the three bedrooms will hold three people. Each cabin will have water and sewer.

Board member Marjorie McGuire Welch was not in attendance.

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.