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Game & Parks approves Champion Mill ownership transfer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 26 January 2012 20:23



By Carolyn Lee

The Imperial Republican


During a regular meeting Friday the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) commissioners approved the transfer of ownership of Champion Mill State Historical Park and State Recreation Area (SRA) to Chase County, pending legislative action.

That is one of the steps in the process to make Chase County responsible for the future maintenance and improvement of the area near Champion.

The next step will be for the Nebraska Legislature to approve LB 739, a bill introduced by State Senator Mark Christensen of Imperial, to allow the transfer of ownership.

Last summer NGPC approached the Chase County Historical Society to see if that group would be interested in taking over the area. The society couldn’t, but the Chase County Commissioners were suggested.

The commissioners approved the effort during a November meeting.

Commissioner Don Weiss Jr. said the commissioners felt the mill and lake wouldn’t take a lot of money to run. He added that if the county can’t administer the area, NGPC will take it back.

NGPC has divested itself of five other recreational areas in the state over the past few years, in an effort to control costs.

Kirk Nelson, West Regional Manager of NGPC’s Parks Division, said NGPC isn’t “dumping the Champion Mill State Recreation Area. It wants to find a solution for the management and operation” of the area.

Nelson said, “This is the sixth area NGPC has divested itself of in the last two years.” The change in ownership is one way NGPC is trying to cut its budget in hard economic times, Nelson noted.

Nelson said the park is a “state treasure. It tells a beautiful story and we want to make sure it’s preserved.”

If the legislature approves LB 739, the county won’t take possession until July, the end of the fiscal year for both the county and the state.

A hearing concerning LB 739 was scheduled for yesterday (Wednesday) in Lincoln.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 January 2012 20:27