Okoboji City Council Hears Plans For What Is Currently The Site Of The Inn

Mon 2-12-2018

(Okoboji)-- Future plans for what currently is the site of The Inn were unveiled at a special meeting Monday evening of the Okoboji City Council, ending months of rumors and speculation. 

White Cap, LLC of Rapid City, South Dakota purchased the historic resort and neighboring golf course for $5.7 million dollars in an on-line auction. The sale closed this past December. It was revealed at Monday evening's meeting the principal parties of White Cap LLC are Kate and William Duhamel of San Francisco California. The Duhamel's are seasonal residents of the Iowa Great Lakes. 

Mike Jensen, a lakes area realtor who is also serving as Manager for the new owners of the Inn property, told the council they plan on converting the nearly 70 acres of land where the convention center and golf course is at into a park. Jensen says the area where the main resort is currently would be subdivided into five single family lots with 10 foot side yard setbacks and more green space than currently required under the city's zoning ordinance...Jensen01 (1) 

"Everything here is done with the idea of low impact development, preservation, keeping the lakes clean, that was this whole plan 100 percent. There should not be any trees removed, there should be all of the low impact development that will be in place, so we're doing this as respectfully as possible to actually kind of re-capture some of the neighborhood green and preserve some of the prairie and things like that."

Jensen says the feedback they've been getting from neighbors so far has been very positive for the most part...Jensen02 (1) 

"I think when you hear the plan though that it could have gone to 200 plus homes and been a really dense thing that this is a rarity that you have an opportunity to have such a parcel like this preserved in perpetuity at no cost to any city. I think that's a really neat option."

Jensen says the owners will transfer the land that will be converted to a park to a non-profit group and that it will be kept as a park in perpetuity...Jensen03 

"So once we get past a certain point here, then we'll start interviewing non-profit organizations in the area that would benefit from having this 70 acres and have the same path and the same thoughts in mind of what we should do with this 70 acres, and that they could really be a custodian of the land and that it could benefit their organization as well. We've thrown around some ideas. Once we get past a certain point and it starts to look like this is really going to happen then we'll start interviewing and some things along that line."

Jensen says contents of The Inn buildings are currently being sold on-line. He says those will be out of the buildings in time for demolition to occur in mid-March. 

Jensen added there will be no expense occurred in any portion of the project by the city of Okoboji or its taxpayers. He says the only request they're making of the city is for the vacation of what is known as Eden Street between the main building and the indoor pool building. A series of public hearings will need to be held by the city as part of that process. Public hearings will also be required for various aspects of the park project and the residential development. Jensen says they also are seeking permission from the city to put a cul 'de sac at the end of Fairfield street as part of the project, which would also be done at no cost to the city.