Conservation Dept. considering renovations for Ketchum Switch Pond

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


The Henry County Conservation Department may be renovating Ketchum Switch Pond with fish habitat money received annually by the state.

The pond covers less than an acre of land. Conservation Director John Pullis described it as ?silted in.? While the discussion was tabled during the Conservation Department?s board of directors meeting on Monday, July 9, Pullis said, ?If we can get free money to renovate that, so be it.?

Each county conservation district in Iowa receives $100,000 to $120,000 in fish habitat money annually.

Although the pond might be seeing some renovations, moving Water Works Campground to a higher elevation might be put on hold, with the estimated cost to move it being $670,000.

During the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, July 10, County Auditor Shelly Barber gasped at the amount presented by Pullis.

The cost was estimated by Matt Walker with French Reneker Associates Inc., land surveyors out of Fairfield.

?Of course, he didn?t want to scare us with this, but he did,? Pullis said.

The cost of moving the campground included 26 pull-through camp sites, with concrete camping pads and water throughout the campground. The department is looking to move the campground because the current grounds, which are located just off the bank of the Skunk River, flood early into the summer.

A less expensive solution could be raising the current campground three or four feet. However, Pullis didn?t think it would cost significantly less because it would include rewiring current sites.

Pullis said regardless of the cost estimate, moving the Water Works Campground to higher elevation was not something the department was looking into doing for this year. Currently, Water Works has 20 electric sites and five primitive sites, the latter of which are rarely used, Pullis said.

The conservation board will visit the campground during their meeting in August to get a better idea of what?s happening, Pullis said.

In other news, the two new cabins are almost enclosed. Pullis said they are working on finishing the roofs of both cabins and that the windows are in.

Even so, they may delay opening the cabins to the public. They were shooting on completing construction by the end of September, but Pullis said he doesn?t find that realistic.