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Natural Resources Commission to Consider New Management Agreement at Honey Creek Resort

DES MOINES – A new management agreement for Honey Creek Resort State Park will be considered during a special meeting of the Natural Resources Commission at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 30th in the Fifth Floor Conference Room at the Wallace State Office Building, 502 E. Ninth St., Des Moines.

The proposal under consideration by the commissioners is to enter a contract for future management of the resort with Delaware North Companies, Inc. The proposal is being recommended by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources after having undergone a comprehensive competitive process.

“The proposal from Delaware North provides for significant reinvestment into Honey Creek Resort that is going to best position this facility for long-term growth and ensure that the resort continues to be an important asset for the citizens of Iowa,” said DNR Director Chuck Gipp.

A new management agreement was made possible when the Iowa General Assembly in 2013 authorized bonds used to pay for the construction of the resort to be paid off early. While the bonds allowed for the resort to be constructed, the terms associated with that financing limited private investment.

“With the bonds paid off, we now have the opportunity to explore options that can help ensure reinvestment and the long-term viability of Honey Creek Resort,” said Gipp.

Honey Creek Resort is currently operated by Central Group Companies LLC, a Minnesota-based hospitality company, through a management agreement with DNR. In this arrangement, Central Group is paid a fee by the DNR to operate the park on behalf of the state.

In pursuing a new management arrangement, the DNR established the following primary objectives:

  •        Provide a quality, unique destination for Iowa
  •        Ensure the state’s investment is properly maintained and protected.
  •        Minimize the state’s financial commitment for operations and capital improvement.
  •        Expand amenities and services.
  •        Increase profitability.
  •        Align profits to performance.
  •        Enhance Honey Creek Resort as a gateway to the outdoors.


“We believe that the management agreement with Delaware North will not only provide for the long-term maintenance of Honey Creek, but also result in significant investment in improving the resort. The original concept of Honey Creek was for it to be a destination state park and reinvestment into making the resort even better will ensure that it continues to be a destination into the future,” said Gipp.

If approved by the commission on Wednesday, the plan is for the new management agreement with Delaware North to take place this summer. Information on the meeting and proposal can be found at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/About-DNR/Boards-Commissions/Natural-Resource-Commission

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