This time the Potts received the Dan O’Connell Service Award from Leisure Systems, Inc. (LSI), the Milford, Ohio-based company that franchises 80 Jellystone Parks across the U.S. and Canada. The award recognizes Jellystone Park owners who have made exemplary efforts to expand the campground industry.
The Potts easily meet that criteria, having embarked on a $10.7 million expansion of their Cave City resort that they hope to complete before next summer.
The award was announced during LSI’s annual Symposium in November, a four-day event that includes educational seminars, networking sessions, a tradeshow and an awards ceremony for Jellystone Park franchisees.
The Potts attended the Symposium, but had to leave before the awards ceremony to take advantage of a narrow two-day window of dry weather to install a liner for their new 2.3 acre pond, which will be the focal point for their resort’s newest water-related activities and amenities next summer.
“I wish we had been there to hear the nomination speech,” Bill Pott said. “But we had to come back because we had two days of dry weather, which we needed to install the liner in our new pond.”
The Potts have faced a variety of construction delays and weather-related challenges this year, including a succession of storms that followed drenching rains from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey. So, they are racing to take advantage of good weather whenever they can to get as much work done as possible. Their expansion project includes:
— Construction of a 2.3-acre splash beach alongside a manmade pond, which will include a 110-foot by 130-foot long modular sports park that floats on the water. The floating sports park, called a Wibit, is designed to accommodate up to 100 people at a time. There will also be a sand beach area designated for sunbathing.
— Two additional water feature ponds.
— At least five additional playground areas, plus individual play structures in each playground.
— Five additional bathhouses.
— A pedal cart track.
— Day use pet kennels.
The Potts also plan to add Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and soft serve ice cream to their snack bar menu.
“We’re taking everything to a new level,” Bill Pott said, adding that they plan to add 200 campsites and 31 rental cabins.
“We are pretty much at capacity until we get the additional campsites and cabins,” he said, adding, “This expansion will enable us to accommodate more guests, many of whom will also visit other Kentucky attractions, including Mammoth Cave National Park, Lincoln’s Birthplace and Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail.”
He said the project will have a positive effect on the Cave City economy, not only producing short-term construction jobs, but an eventual permanent increase in Jellystone Park’s workforce from 55 to 81 full- and part-time employees during the peak summer camping seasons.
The Cave City Jellystone Park has received national attention and awards in recent years. US News and World Report named it one of “The 8 Coolest Campgrounds for Families” in 2016, while the Travel Channel named it one of the 10 best campgrounds for families in 2015.
The park was also named “Facility of the Year” in 2015 by LSI in recognition of its efforts to make sustained improvements.
“We’re putting in the amenities and activities that people want, and they’re willing to travel to get those amenities and attractions,” Pott said, adding that 55 percent of his campers come from out of state. For more information, please visit www.jellystonemammothcave.com.