The Old Works Golf Club in Anaconda is quite the tourist draw during the summer months, but economic development experts say they’ve found a way to attract even more people to the area and capture tourism dollars.
They want to build a five-star RV park near the golf club.
Working with the Butte-based community development organization Headwaters Resource Conservation and Development Area, the Anaconda Local Development Corp. has applied for a state grant to fund a feasibility study. Headwaters was recently awarded more than $20,000 to assist ALDC with completing a master plan.
“It goes back to the beginning of the construction and business plan of Old Works,” said Jim Davison, the executive director of ALDC. “One goal is to see if we can’t get more people staying here, to play at Old Works and increase another 3,000 rounds a year. It also provides additional (accommodations) in that niche of the tourism industry of people who utilize these big 50-footlong RVs.”
Details of the study include determining how to build new clientele by getting them off Interstate 90 in the first place, making sure not to damage the existing area RV-park businesses, and how to design the park and finance it.
For the site, the ALDC is considering land it already owns possibly mixed with county-owned land. The development group said it’s important that the eventual park is within walking distance of the golf course.
The group hopes to have the plan completed by spring, which will include design, market analysis, marketing plan and developing a three-year business plan. The next step is financing and construction.
Davison said the ALDC wants such a park to have a trickle-down effect on the rest of Anaconda, too.
“We want to develop additional accommodation space because our peak time for accommodations is in the summer when the hotels tend to fill up,” Davison said. “RV parks are lower cost per unit to build than a hotel and offer more accommodation space. In the long term, by attracting more people in peak seasons, we may attract those people back in the side seasons, which may drive demand for other accommodations.”
The grant for the feasibility study is through the state’s Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund, formed by the Legislature in 2005 to create jobs and finance long-term economic development projects.
But the RV park could also help the ALDC take advantage of land remediated from smelting damage. Davison hopes it’s a community effort to figure out how to build the park and manage it.
“Anaconda-Deer Lodge County is a great place to live and do business,” said Barbie Durham, Headwaters executive director. “The Anaconda Local Development Corporation is an aggressive and creative economic development organization. This exciting job creating opportunity will lend to the resonance of the area, while enhancing and growing the recreational and tourism opportunities in Anaconda and the region.”