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Don't let the sun go down on family resorts

Otter Tail County, home of 1048 lakes, is fortunate to have many small and family-owned resorts. Each summer thousands of families travel to our area to enjoy our beautiful lakes, and take advantage of the unique vacation that a resort stay provides.

Otter Tail County, home of 1048 lakes, is fortunate to have many small and family-owned resorts. Each summer thousands of families travel to our area to enjoy our beautiful lakes, and take advantage of the unique vacation that a resort stay provides. Businesses in and around Otter Tail County feel the impact of the resort season via visitors bring their dollars into our businesses each and every day.

Hundreds of family-owned resorts have disappeared from Otter Tail County over the years, most of which have been in the last ten years and it's no secret that lakeshore values have skyrocketed in that same time frame. Resort owners are being faced with no choice but to sell their business, mainly because of the high tax assessments issued on their resort. While a million-dollar home may generate more property tax dollars, such a sale is displacing all the money that would have been spent by the families that visit a resort each week during the summer. The impact on our local businesses has been devastating! Also lost is the public relations value from these vacationers taken back to their hometowns as they boast to others about their fabulous vacation experience here in Otter Tail County; the seeds for others to come visit us never get planted.

A medium-sized resort with 10 cabins in Otter Tail County closes in 2005. With 13 weeks of summer, 130 families that would have come to our area are forced to look elsewhere, probably outside of Otter Tail County. Is this loss of vacationers and revenue to our local businesses what we want to happen to our county? Instead of thriving, family-owned businesses, do we want all of our shorelines to be full of single-family homes, condos and glitzy Paul Bunyan-sized resorts?

Minnesota has a long tradition of supporting small businesses. We encourage our Otter Tail County Commissioners to do the same regarding our area resorts.

John D. Thorup

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Perham Area Chamber

Mike Pendy

President, Otter Tail Country Tourism Association/Four Seasons Resort

Jean Bowman

Fergus Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau

Mandy Rubenstein

Fergus Falls Area Chamber

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