Resorts owner sees good year

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Although it's his job, Crescent Bar Resorts owner enjoys a day on the river piloting his excursion pontoon.

CRESCENT BAR - Crescent Bar Resorts owner Tom Park is looking forward to a good year for his business in 2011.

But he says the future is iffy. He can adjust to the new conditions if Crescent Bar island residents are removed, but he wonders what kind of adjustments those will be.

"We'll be okay if they don't close the island while they dredge and build a new boat launch," he said. "They need to keep the golf course and the commercial area open."

But, really, Park would rather have none of this. He hopes that somehow the Grant County PUD changes its mind and leaves Crescent Bar as is.

Park's business focuses on vacation rentals and river excursions on his pontoon boat. For that, he needs people.

There have been plenty up to now, especially on weekends, when Crescent Bar residents host hundreds, perhaps thousands of friends and relatives.

"One crowd draws another crowd," Park said.

Park's 15 Sunserra units are booked solid for holiday weekends, and so is the boat.

"It's been a banner year," he said. "We already have as many bookings as all of last year. Our (Gorge Amphitheatre) concert days are full. We have more one-week stays this year."

Even June, which is traditionally the slowest of the summer months, is humming. Park gave it a boost by having a three-days-for-the-price-of-two special.

"We even had bookings in May," he said.

The river excursions on the pontoon boat, which will hold a sizeable party, cost $100 per hour when Park is piloting. When the customer drives, the cost is $65.

Park has no office. He conducts business with his cell phone and computer. There is no check-in for any of his customers.

"I operate at," he said. "We don't need the overhead of an office or to inconvenience our customers."

Park promoted his business in late April by sponsoring the Sunserra-Crescent Bar Fun Run, which was held in conjunction with the Sunserra Home Owners Association annual meeting.

There were 65 runners, who raced from downtown Crescent Bar to Trinidad and back. Park provided the runners with backpacks and bottled water.

Another promotion was a drawing for a two-night stay at one of Park's units. It was won by a Sunserra resident. Park suspects it will be used for summer guests.

Park's business is varied. He has a 6,000-square foot vacation home in Livingston, Montana that rents for $3,000 a week. He has associated himself with real estate agent Dawn Dzingle of Genesis Real Estate so that he can do long-term rentals.

"To do long-term you need a realtor's license," Park said.

Another reason for the alliance is that the new ResortWorks at Crescent Bar business is competing in the rental market. It is operated by a couple of real estate agents to whom Park used to refer real estate business.

"We're competitors now," he said.

Park introduced his association with Dzingle at the fun run. She manned an informational booth at the start/finish line.

Regarding the future of Crescent Bar, Park has been proactive. He attends nearly all of the PUD commissioner meetings to keep himself abreast of the news.

One of the meetings he missed last fall got his attention when he learned commissioners had substituted a staff-generated island use plan for a plan selected by county residents.

The new plan, Park said, called for removal of the golf course. He didn't want to see that happen because the course attracts people to the area.

Park sprang into action and enlisted the help of golf course superintendent Wes Trammell and others. He appeared at the next meeting of the commissioners with facts and figures and convinced them to leave it.

"Wes showed them it could make money," Park said.

But Park's concerned anew. He's heard rumors the course is back on the chopping block. He'll continue to attend the meetings. It surprises him that hardly anyone from the island does.

"They should be going."

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