A local resort owner is looking to expand his business into Motley.
Jeff Hardy, whose family owns two resorts in northwest Morrison County, approached the Motley City Council, Monday, to express his interest in opening a new resort inside the city. The prospective location would be on the western edge of town, near the city shop.
“The reason I’m here today is just to kind of get the mood to see how you guys would feel about something like that,” Hardy said. “Obviously, if the City Council, which represents the people, (doesn’t) really feel favorable about something like that then I’m not going to pursue it. I haven’t purchased the property at this point.”
Hardy said his family has been in the resort business since 2001. In 2012, he and his wife, Julie, purchased the former KOA Campground on Fish Trap Lake — now called Fish Trap Camping and RV Resort. In 2015, an expansion brought the resort up to 160 campsites.
Eventually, they purchased 112 acres of property on Lena Lake, just south of Motley. In 2020, the family opened its second resort — which is run by Hardy’s sons, Alex and Colton. Hardy’s Lake in the Woods RV Resort, as it came to be called, opened that same year with 80 sites, a bath house that doubles as a storm shelter and a pool.
“Last year, about mid summer, we began the second phase of the project,” he said. “We added 80 more sites and a basketball court last summer; a full-size basketball court.’
He told the Council he would start to work on purchasing the property he had in mind for the resort in town, if it had an appetite for the project.
“For the city, obviously, it would be a huge economic benefit to have additional people shopping in the stores here and that,” Hardy said.
He further explained that the new resort would be geared more toward the 55-and-older crowd. Hardy said a lot of resorts turn away customers in that age group because they often winter in Arizona or Florida, for example. When they come back for the summer, they often are there enough to the point it’s where they receive their mail.
Ultimately, he said campers age 55 and older often have a hard time finding a location.
“I’m not saying that’s what the whole park would be, but we would certainly welcome those people,” Hardy said. “Our focus would be to get those kind of people in there.”
Council Member Steve Johnson suggested to Hardy that he attend the upcoming Planning and Zoning meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, at City Hall. He said bringing the matter before that commission would be “a good place to start.”
“I don’t want to put you on the spot because I just kind of sprung it on you, but is that something that the city would be interested in?” Hardy asked. “Or, do you have a sense?”
Mayor Mike Schmidt told him the Planning and Zoning Commission is the avenue through which those matters are discussed “very openly and pretty unguarded.”
At those meetings, Schmidt said the Commission takes a more detailed look at a proposed project. From there, it makes a recommendation to the City Council, which makes the final decision on whether or not the plan moves forward.
“As things move on, if that’s something you guys decide you wouldn’t mind having here, I would have, obviously, more details,” Hardy said.
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