Archive for Wednesday, April 19, 2000

Couple plans RV park west of Basehor

April 19, 2000

Hoping to capitalize on recent growth and the anticipated opening of the Kansas Speedway, a Tonganoxie couple hope to open a recreational vehicle park west of Basehor.

The site, which is planted in wheat and also used for pasture, is about a half-mile west of 166th Street, along the south side of U.S. 24-40 Highway.

Burdel and Cynthia Welsh plan to open their RV park on nearly 50 acres about 1.5 miles west of Basehor by next spring, according to Burdel Welsh, who also is a Leavenworth County undersheriff. They ultimately are planning for a 300-space park.

"We know we can buy the land," said Burdel Welsh. "It's an issue of how much how fast we can build the park."

John Zoellner of the county's planning department said he has some concerns about the number of access points onto the highway.

"It goes right onto the highway," he said. "It doesn't go onto any external roads."

Welsh said although his property has three access points, he anticipates the park will use only one.

Welsh soon will be out, talking with neighbors of the proposed project.

"I'm going to work with them as much as I can because they're my neighbors," he said. "I'm going to live there. I'm an appointed official working for an elected sheriff, so I can't afford to have problems."

Zoellner said that will be important.

"I suspect that this will be one of those hearings that you'll see people, unless he does a really good job of talking to all of the neighbors," Zoellner said.

Preliminary plans call for a few small cabins on the site, as well as the 300 parking spaces for RVs. Plans also show an area for tents, restrooms, a small store and office, a laundry and picnic areas. A lagoon on the northwest corner of the site would serve the park's sanitary sewer needs. And a shallow fishing lake is planned.

Welsh said he and his wife began looking for a business opportunity near Tonganoxie because she drives each day to Atchison, to run a liquor store and shop just across the Missouri River in Rushville, Mo. The store, which Burdel Welsh's parents bought in 1977, is being sold. In addition, the Welsh family farm in Hiawatha sold March 14.

"Our hope is to find something to do close to home," said Burdel Welsh, who plans to continue working for the sheriff's department.

In some ways, the decision to open an RV park was a no-brainer. The state's recreational vehicle park association told the Welshes that this area is under-served. And next spring, the Kansas Speedway plans to open about five miles from the proposed RV park.

"All you have to do is look at the race on TV and see the RVs around," Welsh said.

The couple hope to earn high points in national RV park and campground directories.

"We have to get high ratings to attract the kind of people we want," Welsh said.

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