BY GINA KINSLOW firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill and Kay Pott, owners of Jellystone Park at Mammoth Cave off Mammoth Cave Road, recently received the Dan O’Connell Service Award from Leisure Systems Inc., the Milford, Ohio-based company that franchises 80 Jellystone Parks across the U.S. and Canada. The award is presented to Jellystone Park owners who make extreme efforts to expand the campground industry.
CAVE CITY — The owners of a Cave City campground have been recognized nationally for expanding their business.
Bill and Kay Pott, owners of the Jellystone Park at Mammoth Cave off Mammoth Cave Road, recently received the Dan O’Connell Service Award from Leisure Systems Inc., the Milford, Ohio-based company that franchises 80 Jellystone Parks across the U.S. and Canada.
The award is presented to Jellystone Park owners who make extreme efforts to expand the campground industry.
The Potts are undertaking a $10.7 million expansion project at their campground, which includes the construction of a 2.3 acre splash beach alongside a manmade pond, which will include 110 by 130 foot long modular sports park called a Wibit.
The award was announced during the company’s annual symposium in November. The Potts attended the event, but had to leave early in order to take advantage of a two-day window of dry weather so that the liner for the 2.3 acre pond could be installed.
“We were totally surprised,” Pott said. “I wish we had been at the banquet. In 14 years, we have missed the banquet twice and … both times we won a significant award.”
In addition to the 2.3-acre splash beach, the expansion project includes a 110 by 130 foot long modular sports park that floats on the water called a Wibit, two additional water feature ponds, five additional playground areas, five additional bathhouses, a pedal cart track and day-use pet kennels.
Pott is hoping to have everything wrapped for the first phase of the project by late spring.
“By the end of March, we expect all the sites to be done, the playgrounds to be done and the bathhouses to be done. The grass will be planted, but I doubt it will be up by that point,” he said.
The expansion project also includes a larger Ranger Station, which features a snack bar and a gift shop.
On Tuesday, Pott said he anticipates the water and sewer to be connected for the Ranger Station by next week.
As for the splash beach, the liner is in. The sand is probably about 70 percent complete and they are starting to fill up the pond, he said.
“And we are finalizing the order on the Wibit,” Pott said.
The Wibit won’t be opened to the public until Memorial Day weekend. The beach will be open by spring break, he said.
The Potts chose to expand their park in Cave City due to being at capacity a majority of the time.
“We have been full on weekends for spring break, all summer and Halloween and starting to be on full during the middle of the week for several years now and then we finally had a chance to get some additional land we jumped on it,” he said. “Really, when you are full and you’ve got waiting lists, you need to expand. And we finally had the opportunity.”
The Potts weren’t expecting to win the award.
“We weren’t expecting any kind of award this year, so it was very, very good,” he said.
On Dec. 12, the Cave City Chamber of Commerce presented the Potts with the Economic Development Award. To have that honor follow the receipt of the Dan O’Connell Service Award was “just icing on the cake.”
“We feel very blessed to receive these recognitions,” he said.
Pott stated in a press release from Leisure Systems Inc. that the expansion project will have a positive effect on the Cave City economy by producing short-term construction jobs and a permanent increase in Jellystone Park’s workforce from 55 to 81 full and part-time employees during the peak summer camping seasons.
The park has received national attention in the past. It was named by U.S. News and World Report as one of “The Eight Coolest Campgrounds for Families” in 2016, while the Travel Channel named it one of the 10 best campgrounds for families in 2015, the press release said.
The park was also named the “Facility of the Year” in 2015 by Leisure Systems Inc. for its efforts to make sustained improvements.
For more information about the park, go to www.jellystonemammothcave.com.