NEW PHILADELPHIA, OHIO — The financially strapped Atwood Lake Resort and Conference Center will not reopen and the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District will focus on development of the future recreational use of the 500-acre property located in Carroll County.
In a 3-2 vote, members of the MWCD board of directors approved the demolition of the 46-year-old main lodge building and golf pro shop during a special session held June 30 to discuss the resort.
Board members William P. Boyle Jr. of Richland County, Richard J. Pryce of Stark County and Steve Kokovich of Muskingum County voted in favor of razing the buildings and developing a plan for renewed recreation use of the resort property, while board members Harry C. Horstman of Harrison County and David L. Parham of Carroll County voted against the proposal.
Atwood Lake Resort, commonly referred to as Atwood Lodge, closed last October and has suffered from increasing deficits that exceeded $1 million in each of the past two years.
Historically, the resort has not been a source of revenue for the MWCD, losing an average of more than $159,000 per year since it opened in 1965. Occupancy rates and use of the resort’s guest and conference rooms had decreased sharply in recent years, while utility and maintenance costs for the main structure had increased.
MWCD officials also said the increasing losses have hampered the conservancy district’s ability to address basic maintenance, infrastructure and customer requests at its other recreational operations at Leesville, Tappan, Clendening, Piedmont, Seneca, Wills Creek, Charles Mill, Pleasant Hill, Beach City and Atwood lakes, including its parks, campgrounds, cottage areas and marinas.
The conservancy district was spending about $50,000 per month in utilities, insurance, taxes, general maintenance and security for the idle property, in addition to staff time. Sewer costs alone currently are $10,500 per month.
Board members agreed to leave intact at this time the 17 four-bedroom vacation cabins located across from the main entrance to the resort, the “chalet” building that formerly housed a snack shop, games and served as the shop for the par-3 golf course, the residence at the golf course and the golf course maintenance building for further evaluation of the property.
The board’s action does not affect Atwood Lake Park or the two marinas located on Atwood Lake. The lodge is located off Route 542 between Sherrodsville and Dellroy in Carroll County, and when it was fully operational, included the 104-room main hotel, dining room and conference center, two golf courses (an 18-hole regulation course and a lighted, nine-hole, par-3 course), 17 vacation cabins and indoor and outdoor swimming pools, along with other amenities.