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General Ohio University Discussion/Alumni Events
Topic:  Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center

Topic:  Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
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Campus Flow
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  Message Not Read  Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/19/2022 11:44:04 PM 
Quote:
He said that the rebuild of the Hocking Hills State Park lodge is part of a wider effort to put more funding into the state park system — noting that plans are in the works to upgrade the other nine park lodges across Ohio – and that it will help support the region’s already booming tourist trade.

“I think it is something that we really do need,” DeWine said. “If you look at the Hocking Hills, the Hocking Hills are red hot. We have people come not just from Ohio, but from all over the country to the Hocking Hills. And I think this lodge is going to give them another destination place. This will become — and already is, really — a place of destination.”

Following the remarks and a ribbon-cutting, the governor and First Lady Fran DeWine were given a guided tour of the facility, while the hundreds of visitors explored the new lodge on their own.

Many seemed very impressed.

“This place is amazing,” said Lancaster resident Ceran Swackhamer. “I mean, the other lodge was beautiful, but this is phenomenal… I remember the old lodge well. We used to make day trips down here and go swimming and hiking. It’s just amazing that now they have a place where you can actually stay, with very nice rooms. It’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful… They did a great job on this.”

https://www.athensnews.com/news/hundreds-flock-to-grand-o...


https://www.hockinghillsparklodge.com /

Recently opened another full service hotel for SEO. But like Burr Oak isn't too close to Athens which according to this article will be having a renovation soon for itself. It would be nice if the lodges were within 15-20 minutes instead of 35-40 minute drive. Its not as big of a problem if one is traveling from points north but its out of your way if traveling in from the east. Its possible this lodge has been a factor of why OU didn't decide to expand the Inn up on The Ridges as it was considering in the master plan of 2016, always worried about profitability and market share.

This was an article back in 2000 on a mixed use retail/housing project with a hotel that was never built with quotes from OU skeptical about the feasibility. In the following 15 years or so Athens did see 5 new hotels (Central, Holiday, Fairfield, Hampton and Super 8) arrive in town plus expansion of the Knight's Inn. If another hotel were to arrive it would probably make sense for extended stay units and as a part of a development on the W. Union street with HCOM right around the corner and as part of a larger mixed use development.

Quote:
IF THE MARKET IS INDEED not growing, the OU Inn's future prospects could be heavily impacted by plans of a Beachwood firm, the Coral Co., to develop a retail/housing complex on a site very near the Inn -- a complex that, if completed as envisioned, will include a hotel/conference center that would probably compete with the OU Inn directly.

Siemer expressed some skepticism about the Coral Co.'s ability to find financing for the project and make it work (though his comments should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt, given that he was talking about a potential competitor for the Inn.)

"I don't know how they're going to take a pro forma (business plan) to a bank that shows you're going to get more business," Siemer said. "I just don't see that (project) happening. There's just not that much business."

Alexis V. Wiegand, a development associate at the Coral Co., said this week that the company doesn't wish to comment on Siemer's remarks. Wiegand reported that Coral is currently "researching different sources of funding" for the project, and may have an announcement of some sort within the next 30 days.

Local hotel operator Jack Bortle, who has facilities across Ohio including the Amerihost in Athens, said he agrees to some extent with Siemer's assessment of the regional room market.

"There are certain weekends when we could take a dozen new motels (in Athens)," Bortle said. "(But) it would be difficult to support another hotel in my view." He said the regional market is "not growing by leaps and bounds," and questioned, "what new demand generators have been created in Athens?... If there were room for another hotel, believe me, I'd build 25 of them."

https://www.athensnews.com/news/local/will-ou-inn-pay-off...


Most Memorable Bobcat Events Attended
2010 97-83 win over Georgetown in NCAA 1st round
2012 45-13 victory over ULM in the Independence Bowl
2015 34-3 drubbing of Miami @ Peden front of 25,086

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Alan Swank
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Member Since: 12/11/2004
Location: Athens, OH
Post Count: 6,716

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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/22/2022 6:11:23 PM 
Always thought the Ridges. would make a great hotel with several dining options (truly fine to pub/clubhouse food) with an 18 hole championship golf course. There is a large perfectly flat spot up there where you and look in four different directions and see a par three, two par fours, and a par five right before your eyes not to mention views that stretch miles into the distance.
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Campus Flow
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Member Since: 12/20/2004
Location: Alexandria, VA
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/23/2022 9:50:18 AM 
Alan Swank wrote:
Always thought the Ridges. would make a great hotel with several dining options (truly fine to pub/clubhouse food) with an 18 hole championship golf course. There is a large perfectly flat spot up there where you and look in four different directions and see a par three, two par fours, and a par five right before your eyes not to mention views that stretch miles into the distance.


Alan I know the Country Club is only 9 holes but their existence siphons away having an 18 hole golf course right next to it. Its $260 a month with no initiation fee to join it so I'm not sure if the economy is there to support a public 18, particularly something built a good distance from uptown. To your point the views would be excellent up on the Ridges. Politically its not tenable to repurpose a community treasure such as the 700 acres of the ridges for a golf course in a college town. A suburban community would have a different interpretation on the value of 700 undeveloped acres.

The direction is in the way of giving the community more access to hiking recreation. Hocking Hills is somewhat advertised as convenient to Athens but as we know its not really as its off 33 tucked back into country roads. Turning the Ridges land lab into an outdoor museum is a resource that is walkable from campus. A second way its being done is the extension of the bikeway to Strouds Run and a new one in the work to Bailey's Trailhead to the immediate north of Athens. That gives realistic campus access to 3 major recreational areas by bike. However to really tour the region there needs to be shuttles out of Athens that can take people to Hocking Hills with everything spread out. There are no tours running out of Athens to regional sites of interest nor can you catch one from the Hocking Hills to the various exhibits around there. That is how its done in Arizona with the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley so far from Sedona they run shuttle tours to those locations. I know the university wants the transit system to grow organically on its own through grant funding but it would help if they could get in the shuttle game at least for weekend service to recreational areas.


Most Memorable Bobcat Events Attended
2010 97-83 win over Georgetown in NCAA 1st round
2012 45-13 victory over ULM in the Independence Bowl
2015 34-3 drubbing of Miami @ Peden front of 25,086

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greencat
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/24/2022 5:35:13 PM 
The hotel prices in Athens are not realistic. Athens Central is nice but overpriced. Looking at NYE...with the students gone.

Holiday Inn Express - 147 plus tax = $166

Hampton Inn - $158 w/tax

Fairfield Inn - $146 w/tax

Maybe there needs to be more competition to get the prices more in line with reality.
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SBH
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/25/2022 6:49:27 AM 
I disagree. The reality is that people are willing to pay those prices, which is why they are what they are. That's how a free market works.

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greencat
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/25/2022 2:10:04 PM 
SBH wrote:
I disagree. The reality is that people are willing to pay those prices, which is why they are what they are. That's how a free market works.



Everybody understands the concept of supply and demand...however... look at Priceline around Wednesday or Thursday and with those hotels mostly empty, there could be some last minute discounting. Even with the Blue Jackets having a crappy season, people will go to short north and the arena district in C'bus for NYE expecting to pay 150 or 200 that night for a room. Not in a college town with the kids gone and nothing going on. Athens Central unlike those three chain hotels is already discounting for that night. A smart move.

Disclaimer: I was a travel agent for 14 years but that stint ended Jan.1 2012, a year in corporate travel in 2016 not withstanding. That was all before the pandemic, so things may have changed and probably did.
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Campus Flow
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/25/2022 2:14:06 PM 
Three hotels listed above but they all are in different portfolios. Going by Hotels.com advertised rate w/o fees & taxes for upcoming Jan 4th-5th midweek booking.

IHG (Holiday Inn)-$128
Hilton (Hampton Inn)-$121
Marriott (Fairfield Inn)-$110

Athens also has:

Wyndham (Days Inn)-$77
Wyndham (Super 8)-$73
Choice (Quality Inn)-$71
Red Lion (Knights Inn)-$55
Independent (OU Inn)-$116
Independent (Athens Central)-$101
Independent (Hometown Inn)-$55
Independent (Highlander Motel)-(Sold Out)

There is only 1 IHG, Hilton and Marriott property in Athens. IHG, Hilton and Marriott have their own loyalty networks so they don't really compete against themselves. Its the Days Inn and Super 8 both in the Wyndham network that are in direct competition with each other and you can see a lower price point. In large markets where you have multiple IHG, Hilton, Marriott properties that is when you can find some for under $100. Another point here is that the price structure of large portfolio hotels (IHG, Hilton, Marriott) is propping the entire market because it allows the OU Inn and Athens Central to charge 5-10% below and it also creates profitability zone at $55 for the Knights Inn and Hometown Inn.

This is why I believe a Hyatt House with suites could work in Athens because Hyatt has their own loyalty network and a tight relationship with Chase Bank, the number one commercial bank by volume. Chase credit card points go directly to Hyatt or Marriott 1:1 so tilts to a higher end clientele. There is not one Hyatt property in all of SEO either so you could have Hyatt loyalist that will stay there over an alternative brand closer to their destination. The university I believe would have to work out a deal to bring in a suite hotel whereby they would have their visiting faculty stay as they are doing with having the football team stay overnight at the Holiday Inn. West Union street maybe where its close to HCOM and the hospital.

One of the detractors in bringing in another hotel is enrollment is down from its peak in the 2015-2018 period and the Athens County population is trending downward. Alumni base is peaking. Perhaps another 10% of growth to be expected. Twenty years ago there was 50% long term upside.


Most Memorable Bobcat Events Attended
2010 97-83 win over Georgetown in NCAA 1st round
2012 45-13 victory over ULM in the Independence Bowl
2015 34-3 drubbing of Miami @ Peden front of 25,086

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Campus Flow
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/25/2022 2:36:34 PM 
greencat wrote:
SBH wrote:
I disagree. The reality is that people are willing to pay those prices, which is why they are what they are. That's how a free market works.



Everybody understands the concept of supply and demand...however... look at Priceline around Wednesday or Thursday and with those hotels mostly empty, there could be some last minute discounting. Even with the Blue Jackets having a crappy season, people will go to short north and the arena district in C'bus for NYE expecting to pay 150 or 200 that night for a room. Not in a college town with the kids gone and nothing going on. Athens Central unlike those three chain hotels is already discounting for that night. A smart move.

Disclaimer: I was a travel agent for 14 years but that stint ended Jan.1 2012, a year in corporate travel in 2016 not withstanding. That was all before the pandemic, so things may have changed and probably did.


What are your thoughts then toward the growth of popularity of AirBnB? From my experience a lot of it is driven by people who are traveling with dogs and desire yard space for them. That is another counter trend to brining another hotel down to Athens. Though from what I understand its not legal to have an AirBnB business in the Athens City limits.


Most Memorable Bobcat Events Attended
2010 97-83 win over Georgetown in NCAA 1st round
2012 45-13 victory over ULM in the Independence Bowl
2015 34-3 drubbing of Miami @ Peden front of 25,086

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greencat
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/25/2022 9:23:08 PM 
What happens when AIR BNB's are allowed?

https://www.middletownpress.com/business/article/Airbnb-h...

https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/crime/2022/12/19/shoo... /

https://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/top-stories/neighbors... /

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale/202... /

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/04/17/pit... /

I agree with disallowing short-term rentals. They cause horrible problems.




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BillyTheCat
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/26/2022 9:16:53 AM 
greencat wrote:
What happens when AIR BNB's are allowed?

https://www.middletownpress.com/business/article/Airbnb-h...

https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/crime/2022/12/19/shoo... /

https://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/top-stories/neighbors... /

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale/202... /

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/04/17/pit... /

I agree with disallowing short-term rentals. They cause horrible problems.






yeah, because crime and disturbances never happen at a hotel.
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Alan Swank
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Location: Athens, OH
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/26/2022 10:35:07 AM 
Campus Flow wrote:
greencat wrote:
SBH wrote:
I disagree. The reality is that people are willing to pay those prices, which is why they are what they are. That's how a free market works.



Everybody understands the concept of supply and demand...however... look at Priceline around Wednesday or Thursday and with those hotels mostly empty, there could be some last minute discounting. Even with the Blue Jackets having a crappy season, people will go to short north and the arena district in C'bus for NYE expecting to pay 150 or 200 that night for a room. Not in a college town with the kids gone and nothing going on. Athens Central unlike those three chain hotels is already discounting for that night. A smart move.

Disclaimer: I was a travel agent for 14 years but that stint ended Jan.1 2012, a year in corporate travel in 2016 not withstanding. That was all before the pandemic, so things may have changed and probably did.


What are your thoughts then toward the growth of popularity of AirBnB? From my experience a lot of it is driven by people who are traveling with dogs and desire yard space for them. That is another counter trend to brining another hotel down to Athens. Though from what I understand its not legal to have an AirBnB business in the Athens City limits.


Airbnb's are legal in Athens. City Council passed that legislation earlier this year. Council also passed an additional ordinance earlier this month which tightens up the permitting process.

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Alan Swank
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Member Since: 12/11/2004
Location: Athens, OH
Post Count: 6,716

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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/26/2022 10:45:39 AM 
Campus Flow wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Always thought the Ridges. would make a great hotel with several dining options (truly fine to pub/clubhouse food) with an 18 hole championship golf course. There is a large perfectly flat spot up there where you and look in four different directions and see a par three, two par fours, and a par five right before your eyes not to mention views that stretch miles into the distance.


Alan I know the Country Club is only 9 holes but their existence siphons away having an 18 hole golf course right next to it. Its $260 a month with no initiation fee to join it so I'm not sure if the economy is there to support a public 18, particularly something built a good distance from uptown. To your point the views would be excellent up on the Ridges. Politically its not tenable to repurpose a community treasure such as the 700 acres of the ridges for a golf course in a college town. A suburban community would have a different interpretation on the value of 700 undeveloped acres.

The direction is in the way of giving the community more access to hiking recreation. Hocking Hills is somewhat advertised as convenient to Athens but as we know its not really as its off 33 tucked back into country roads. Turning the Ridges land lab into an outdoor museum is a resource that is walkable from campus. A second way its being done is the extension of the bikeway to Strouds Run and a new one in the work to Bailey's Trailhead to the immediate north of Athens. That gives realistic campus access to 3 major recreational areas by bike. However to really tour the region there needs to be shuttles out of Athens that can take people to Hocking Hills with everything spread out. There are no tours running out of Athens to regional sites of interest nor can you catch one from the Hocking Hills to the various exhibits around there. That is how its done in Arizona with the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley so far from Sedona they run shuttle tours to those locations. I know the university wants the transit system to grow organically on its own through grant funding but it would help if they could get in the shuttle game at least for weekend service to recreational areas.


Actually the monthly charge without a cart is $468.69 - $260 for golf, $17 for equipment fund, $60 for a a capital fund, and $100 food and beverage charge, plus tax on all of that. That's over $5600 a year.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy playing there once or twice a year and have many friends who are members. That said and as an example, a friend of mine plays at Deer Ridge golf course near Bellville in rural Richland County. It's an 18 hole public course with a membership option for $1566.67 per year with a three year membership or $1900 per year on a year to year basis. That includes your cart.

If a course is nice enough and reasonably priced, people will drive to play it. There are between 20 and 40 Athens men who drive up to an hour every Wednesday and Thursday to play a variety of 18 hole out of town courses.

And finally, the course would only need to take up 125 or so of the acres on The Ridges. The rest could remain for other outdoor pursuits.
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Campus Flow
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Location: Alexandria, VA
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/26/2022 11:29:20 AM 
BillyTheCat wrote:
greencat wrote:
What happens when AIR BNB's are allowed?

https://www.middletownpress.com/business/article/Airbnb-h...

https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/crime/2022/12/19/shoo... /

https://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/top-stories/neighbors... /

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale/202... /

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/04/17/pit... /

I agree with disallowing short-term rentals. They cause horrible problems.






yeah, because crime and disturbances never happen at a hotel.


Especially at the lower price points of $50 dollar a night that he views as appropriate to see in Athens. There is a reason why people pay up to stay at a nicer hotel, particularly traveling with a family.


Most Memorable Bobcat Events Attended
2010 97-83 win over Georgetown in NCAA 1st round
2012 45-13 victory over ULM in the Independence Bowl
2015 34-3 drubbing of Miami @ Peden front of 25,086

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Campus Flow
General User



Member Since: 12/20/2004
Location: Alexandria, VA
Post Count: 4,683

Status: Offline

  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/26/2022 11:34:45 AM 
Alan Swank wrote:
Campus Flow wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Always thought the Ridges. would make a great hotel with several dining options (truly fine to pub/clubhouse food) with an 18 hole championship golf course. There is a large perfectly flat spot up there where you and look in four different directions and see a par three, two par fours, and a par five right before your eyes not to mention views that stretch miles into the distance.


Alan I know the Country Club is only 9 holes but their existence siphons away having an 18 hole golf course right next to it. Its $260 a month with no initiation fee to join it so I'm not sure if the economy is there to support a public 18, particularly something built a good distance from uptown. To your point the views would be excellent up on the Ridges. Politically its not tenable to repurpose a community treasure such as the 700 acres of the ridges for a golf course in a college town. A suburban community would have a different interpretation on the value of 700 undeveloped acres.

The direction is in the way of giving the community more access to hiking recreation. Hocking Hills is somewhat advertised as convenient to Athens but as we know its not really as its off 33 tucked back into country roads. Turning the Ridges land lab into an outdoor museum is a resource that is walkable from campus. A second way its being done is the extension of the bikeway to Strouds Run and a new one in the work to Bailey's Trailhead to the immediate north of Athens. That gives realistic campus access to 3 major recreational areas by bike. However to really tour the region there needs to be shuttles out of Athens that can take people to Hocking Hills with everything spread out. There are no tours running out of Athens to regional sites of interest nor can you catch one from the Hocking Hills to the various exhibits around there. That is how its done in Arizona with the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley so far from Sedona they run shuttle tours to those locations. I know the university wants the transit system to grow organically on its own through grant funding but it would help if they could get in the shuttle game at least for weekend service to recreational areas.


Actually the monthly charge without a cart is $468.69 - $260 for golf, $17 for equipment fund, $60 for a a capital fund, and $100 food and beverage charge, plus tax on all of that. That's over $5600 a year.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy playing there once or twice a year and have many friends who are members. That said and as an example, a friend of mine plays at Deer Ridge golf course near Bellville in rural Richland County. It's an 18 hole public course with a membership option for $1566.67 per year with a three year membership or $1900 per year on a year to year basis. That includes your cart.

If a course is nice enough and reasonably priced, people will drive to play it. There are between 20 and 40 Athens men who drive up to an hour every Wednesday and Thursday to play a variety of 18 hole out of town courses.

And finally, the course would only need to take up 125 or so of the acres on The Ridges. The rest could remain for other outdoor pursuits.


Almost $500 a month I guess is relatively restrictive. One thing about your post that struck me is a group traveling to a variety of courses within an hour. If this is the case won't they continue to do so even with a public 18 in town once the become bored of it? Play it once a month and the other nights of the month go somewhere else?


Most Memorable Bobcat Events Attended
2010 97-83 win over Georgetown in NCAA 1st round
2012 45-13 victory over ULM in the Independence Bowl
2015 34-3 drubbing of Miami @ Peden front of 25,086

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Campus Flow
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Member Since: 12/20/2004
Location: Alexandria, VA
Post Count: 4,683

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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/26/2022 11:36:07 AM 
Alan Swank wrote:
Campus Flow wrote:
greencat wrote:
SBH wrote:
I disagree. The reality is that people are willing to pay those prices, which is why they are what they are. That's how a free market works.



Everybody understands the concept of supply and demand...however... look at Priceline around Wednesday or Thursday and with those hotels mostly empty, there could be some last minute discounting. Even with the Blue Jackets having a crappy season, people will go to short north and the arena district in C'bus for NYE expecting to pay 150 or 200 that night for a room. Not in a college town with the kids gone and nothing going on. Athens Central unlike those three chain hotels is already discounting for that night. A smart move.

Disclaimer: I was a travel agent for 14 years but that stint ended Jan.1 2012, a year in corporate travel in 2016 not withstanding. That was all before the pandemic, so things may have changed and probably did.


What are your thoughts then toward the growth of popularity of AirBnB? From my experience a lot of it is driven by people who are traveling with dogs and desire yard space for them. That is another counter trend to brining another hotel down to Athens. Though from what I understand its not legal to have an AirBnB business in the Athens City limits.


Airbnb's are legal in Athens. City Council passed that legislation earlier this year. Council also passed an additional ordinance earlier this month which tightens up the permitting process.


No special assessed tax for AirBnB in Athens City? In my city I'm allowed if permitted and willing to pay a 7% tax.


Most Memorable Bobcat Events Attended
2010 97-83 win over Georgetown in NCAA 1st round
2012 45-13 victory over ULM in the Independence Bowl
2015 34-3 drubbing of Miami @ Peden front of 25,086

Back to Top
  
Alan Swank
General User

Member Since: 12/11/2004
Location: Athens, OH
Post Count: 6,716

Status: Offline

  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/26/2022 2:01:50 PM 
Campus Flow wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Campus Flow wrote:
greencat wrote:
SBH wrote:
I disagree. The reality is that people are willing to pay those prices, which is why they are what they are. That's how a free market works.



Everybody understands the concept of supply and demand...however... look at Priceline around Wednesday or Thursday and with those hotels mostly empty, there could be some last minute discounting. Even with the Blue Jackets having a crappy season, people will go to short north and the arena district in C'bus for NYE expecting to pay 150 or 200 that night for a room. Not in a college town with the kids gone and nothing going on. Athens Central unlike those three chain hotels is already discounting for that night. A smart move.

Disclaimer: I was a travel agent for 14 years but that stint ended Jan.1 2012, a year in corporate travel in 2016 not withstanding. That was all before the pandemic, so things may have changed and probably did.


What are your thoughts then toward the growth of popularity of AirBnB? From my experience a lot of it is driven by people who are traveling with dogs and desire yard space for them. That is another counter trend to brining another hotel down to Athens. Though from what I understand its not legal to have an AirBnB business in the Athens City limits.


Airbnb's are legal in Athens. City Council passed that legislation earlier this year. Council also passed an additional ordinance earlier this month which tightens up the permitting process.


No special assessed tax for AirBnB in Athens City? In my city I'm allowed if permitted and willing to pay a 7% tax.


They have to charge/pay the same hotel/motel tax that the other hotels in town pay.
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Alan Swank
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Location: Athens, OH
Post Count: 6,716

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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/26/2022 2:04:47 PM 
Campus Flow wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Campus Flow wrote:
Alan Swank wrote:
Always thought the Ridges. would make a great hotel with several dining options (truly fine to pub/clubhouse food) with an 18 hole championship golf course. There is a large perfectly flat spot up there where you and look in four different directions and see a par three, two par fours, and a par five right before your eyes not to mention views that stretch miles into the distance.


Alan I know the Country Club is only 9 holes but their existence siphons away having an 18 hole golf course right next to it. Its $260 a month with no initiation fee to join it so I'm not sure if the economy is there to support a public 18, particularly something built a good distance from uptown. To your point the views would be excellent up on the Ridges. Politically its not tenable to repurpose a community treasure such as the 700 acres of the ridges for a golf course in a college town. A suburban community would have a different interpretation on the value of 700 undeveloped acres.

The direction is in the way of giving the community more access to hiking recreation. Hocking Hills is somewhat advertised as convenient to Athens but as we know its not really as its off 33 tucked back into country roads. Turning the Ridges land lab into an outdoor museum is a resource that is walkable from campus. A second way its being done is the extension of the bikeway to Strouds Run and a new one in the work to Bailey's Trailhead to the immediate north of Athens. That gives realistic campus access to 3 major recreational areas by bike. However to really tour the region there needs to be shuttles out of Athens that can take people to Hocking Hills with everything spread out. There are no tours running out of Athens to regional sites of interest nor can you catch one from the Hocking Hills to the various exhibits around there. That is how its done in Arizona with the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley so far from Sedona they run shuttle tours to those locations. I know the university wants the transit system to grow organically on its own through grant funding but it would help if they could get in the shuttle game at least for weekend service to recreational areas.


Actually the monthly charge without a cart is $468.69 - $260 for golf, $17 for equipment fund, $60 for a a capital fund, and $100 food and beverage charge, plus tax on all of that. That's over $5600 a year.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy playing there once or twice a year and have many friends who are members. That said and as an example, a friend of mine plays at Deer Ridge golf course near Bellville in rural Richland County. It's an 18 hole public course with a membership option for $1566.67 per year with a three year membership or $1900 per year on a year to year basis. That includes your cart.

If a course is nice enough and reasonably priced, people will drive to play it. There are between 20 and 40 Athens men who drive up to an hour every Wednesday and Thursday to play a variety of 18 hole out of town courses.

And finally, the course would only need to take up 125 or so of the acres on The Ridges. The rest could remain for other outdoor pursuits.


Almost $500 a month I guess is relatively restrictive. One thing about your post that struck me is a group traveling to a variety of courses within an hour. If this is the case won't they continue to do so even with a public 18 in town once the become bored of it? Play it once a month and the other nights of the month go somewhere else?


My point was that they are willing to travel an hour to play because there isn't an 18 hole track in Athens County. Again folks will drive to a decent place with a fair price. Shoot, there are folks her in Athens that have an out of town membership at a course in Pickaway County because it's such a good deal and it's an 18 hole course.

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greencat
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/26/2022 2:30:18 PM 
Athens Central has a Hotels.com member rate of $103 for NYE...thus there is middle ground between staying in a flea-bag motel for $50 and overpaying for a mid-tier chain hotel at $150. I never said the Hampton Inn should be $50 or that people should drag their family to some run down ho-house.

Last Edited: 12/26/2022 2:30:52 PM by greencat

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Jeff McKinney
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/26/2022 11:01:47 PM 
Campus Flow wrote:
BillyTheCat wrote:
greencat wrote:
What happens when AIR BNB's are allowed?

https://www.middletownpress.com/business/article/Airbnb-h...

https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/crime/2022/12/19/shoo... /

https://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/top-stories/neighbors... /

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale/202... /

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/04/17/pit... /

I agree with disallowing short-term rentals. They cause horrible problems.






yeah, because crime and disturbances never happen at a hotel.


Especially at the lower price points of $50 dollar a night that he views as appropriate to see in Athens. There is a reason why people pay up to stay at a nicer hotel, particularly traveling with a family.


I made this decision recently myself.

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OUs LONG Driver
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/27/2022 9:43:55 AM 
I'm with Alan on this one...Athens can support an 18 hole golf course if it's done right. I was part of the group of people who regularly drove 60-90 minutes out of town when I was a student to play 18 hole golf courses. If the course is a real layout (at least 4 sets of tees and at least Par 70) that is well kept people will drive in from all over to play it. A strong local base of players would be ideal but good golf courses draw from a much larger area than I think many expect (not uncommon for me to drive 2+ hours to play with my friends when I have the time). Not to mention our golf teams could actually practice on a real golf course! Eagle Sticks in Zanesville is a good example of a quality course that isn't exactly that close to a large population center that does well and draws from a wide area (including Athens).

There have been many courses that have closed in Ohio in the last 10 years and almost none that were built recently so the supply and demand issue has balanced out. As property prices skyrocketed and the golf crowd waned it made sense in a lot of cases to develop the land the courses were on for housing. Now we expect housing prices to drop in the short term and golf popularity has ticked back up considerably in the last 3 years. Try getting a tee time at a nice course a couple days away from a Summer weekend. It's become nearly impossible on many public tracks.

Westchester in Canal Winchester in the late 90's is the last mid-high end course I can think of being built SE of Columbus. It's barely survived but in the immediate vicinity Cooks Creek Closed (I think it's done at least), the Phoenix closed, Upper Lansdowne closed, Foxfire killed off the original 18 (let's not forget the Elm, R.I.P.). Those are all South and Southeast of Columbus that used to draw the diehards out of SE Ohio. Of that group Cooks was built basically in a river that flooded all the time and the layout required huge maintenance costs, The Phoenix was literally built on a dump that caused lots of problems, Lansdowne was redeveloped for housing after years of neglect, and Foxfire's original 18 was also redeveloped for housing. Ohio probably had too many golf courses given the climate but I think now the tables have turned where a new course could thrive if done right.

Getting it right isn't easy and the piece of property plays a huge part in it. The other major factors are making the layout fun for all players, designing it so maintenance costs aren't crazy (e.g. can't have 100 bunkers) and avoiding a design that causes pace of play issues. Of course having competent people in charge is just as important. It can be done but I admit it's not easy to thread this needle. Having zero competition within 30 minutes in your weight class sure would be a nice leg up though.

I'm not going to hold my breath but man it would be cool to see it happen in Athens and give me another reason to drive back more often.

Last Edited: 12/27/2022 9:44:42 AM by OUs LONG Driver

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BillyTheCat
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/27/2022 11:36:48 AM 
OUs LONG Driver wrote:
I'm with Alan on this one...Athens can support an 18 hole golf course if it's done right. I was part of the group of people who regularly drove 60-90 minutes out of town when I was a student to play 18 hole golf courses. If the course is a real layout (at least 4 sets of tees and at least Par 70) that is well kept people will drive in from all over to play it. A strong local base of players would be ideal but good golf courses draw from a much larger area than I think many expect (not uncommon for me to drive 2+ hours to play with my friends when I have the time). Not to mention our golf teams could actually practice on a real golf course! Eagle Sticks in Zanesville is a good example of a quality course that isn't exactly that close to a large population center that does well and draws from a wide area (including Athens).

There have been many courses that have closed in Ohio in the last 10 years and almost none that were built recently so the supply and demand issue has balanced out. As property prices skyrocketed and the golf crowd waned it made sense in a lot of cases to develop the land the courses were on for housing. Now we expect housing prices to drop in the short term and golf popularity has ticked back up considerably in the last 3 years. Try getting a tee time at a nice course a couple days away from a Summer weekend. It's become nearly impossible on many public tracks.

Westchester in Canal Winchester in the late 90's is the last mid-high end course I can think of being built SE of Columbus. It's barely survived but in the immediate vicinity Cooks Creek Closed (I think it's done at least), the Phoenix closed, Upper Lansdowne closed, Foxfire killed off the original 18 (let's not forget the Elm, R.I.P.). Those are all South and Southeast of Columbus that used to draw the diehards out of SE Ohio. Of that group Cooks was built basically in a river that flooded all the time and the layout required huge maintenance costs, The Phoenix was literally built on a dump that caused lots of problems, Lansdowne was redeveloped for housing after years of neglect, and Foxfire's original 18 was also redeveloped for housing. Ohio probably had too many golf courses given the climate but I think now the tables have turned where a new course could thrive if done right.

Getting it right isn't easy and the piece of property plays a huge part in it. The other major factors are making the layout fun for all players, designing it so maintenance costs aren't crazy (e.g. can't have 100 bunkers) and avoiding a design that causes pace of play issues. Of course having competent people in charge is just as important. It can be done but I admit it's not easy to thread this needle. Having zero competition within 30 minutes in your weight class sure would be a nice leg up though.

I'm not going to hold my breath but man it would be cool to see it happen in Athens and give me another reason to drive back more often.


Good analysis. But let’s be fair the original 18 at Foxfire can’t keep up with the newer 18 which is a treat to play.
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Campus Flow
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/27/2022 12:05:59 PM 
Another supporting data point for putting an 18 hole course in the Athens vicinity is that (from the referenced article) industry recommends having one for every 25,000 people and 50,000 for a 36 hole course.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/failing-golf-courses-killi... .

From what I remember 90% of Athens County population is within that Nelsonville to Athens corridor. Population is solidly over 50,000 people. Athens Country Club it appears is more of a swim and tennis club than a serious golf club and it only has 9 holes so another 18 in Athens County gives you only 27.

Location wise I think you want to be as close to US 33 as what you can. An 18 hole course in The Plains would be easier for land acquisition and more centered in the Athens-Nelsonville corridor. Ridges is an extra 10 minutes south partially because you have to wind up the hillside. Athens Country Club is only a mile from that one. If passers by can see the golf course from US 33 that is instant advertising.


Most Memorable Bobcat Events Attended
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Ohio69
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/27/2022 1:02:52 PM 

Unfortunately the Tiger Woods led golf boom never made it to Athens. And as noted golf courses are closing everywhere due to lack of interest.

Do I think an 18 hole golf course could survive in Athens? Yes. But, I can't believe anyone would put up the $20+ million investment to find out right now.

Its too bad the shady as sh** dudes who "built" university estates didn't finish the golf course that was allegedly in the plans there.


Can somebody hit a pull up jumper for me?.....

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Alan Swank
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/27/2022 1:40:15 PM 
Campus Flow wrote:
Another supporting data point for putting an 18 hole course in the Athens vicinity is that (from the referenced article) industry recommends having one for every 25,000 people and 50,000 for a 36 hole course.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/failing-golf-courses-killi... .

From what I remember 90% of Athens County population is within that Nelsonville to Athens corridor. Population is solidly over 50,000 people. Athens Country Club it appears is more of a swim and tennis club than a serious golf club and it only has 9 holes so another 18 in Athens County gives you only 27.

Location wise I think you want to be as close to US 33 as what you can. An 18 hole course in The Plains would be easier for land acquisition and more centered in the Athens-Nelsonville corridor. Ridges is an extra 10 minutes south partially because you have to wind up the hillside. Athens Country Club is only a mile from that one. If passers by can see the golf course from US 33 that is instant advertising.


90% is a bit high. Alexander Local is the second largest school district in the county and it's south of Athens. You also forgot about the 9 hole course at OU. When it first reopened after a redesign around 2000, it was the nicest course in the county - great tees, huge greens, four sets of tees, and brand new bunkers. The tees are still pretty good but the greens are not as nice as the county club. The traps are a disaster. As LongDriver said earlier, a solid maintenance program is the key.

If the community authority is approved by OU and City Council, the land to put the course on at the Ridges would be free which would reduce the cost of building a course. The biggest obstacles I foresee would be the public outcry over the negative environmental effect the course would have and the mistaken belief that golf is an elitist white man's game. If done properly and in conjunction with OU, a world class "First Tee" type of program could be developed so that kids of all socioeconomic groups in the area could participate in what is a lifetime sport.

Last thing - the tennis courts at the county club have been plowed under.

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OUs LONG Driver
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  Message Not Read  RE: Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center
   Posted: 12/27/2022 2:25:55 PM 
BillyTheCat wrote:
OUs LONG Driver wrote:
I'm with Alan on this one...Athens can support an 18 hole golf course if it's done right. I was part of the group of people who regularly drove 60-90 minutes out of town when I was a student to play 18 hole golf courses. If the course is a real layout (at least 4 sets of tees and at least Par 70) that is well kept people will drive in from all over to play it. A strong local base of players would be ideal but good golf courses draw from a much larger area than I think many expect (not uncommon for me to drive 2+ hours to play with my friends when I have the time). Not to mention our golf teams could actually practice on a real golf course! Eagle Sticks in Zanesville is a good example of a quality course that isn't exactly that close to a large population center that does well and draws from a wide area (including Athens).

There have been many courses that have closed in Ohio in the last 10 years and almost none that were built recently so the supply and demand issue has balanced out. As property prices skyrocketed and the golf crowd waned it made sense in a lot of cases to develop the land the courses were on for housing. Now we expect housing prices to drop in the short term and golf popularity has ticked back up considerably in the last 3 years. Try getting a tee time at a nice course a couple days away from a Summer weekend. It's become nearly impossible on many public tracks.

Westchester in Canal Winchester in the late 90's is the last mid-high end course I can think of being built SE of Columbus. It's barely survived but in the immediate vicinity Cooks Creek Closed (I think it's done at least), the Phoenix closed, Upper Lansdowne closed, Foxfire killed off the original 18 (let's not forget the Elm, R.I.P.). Those are all South and Southeast of Columbus that used to draw the diehards out of SE Ohio. Of that group Cooks was built basically in a river that flooded all the time and the layout required huge maintenance costs, The Phoenix was literally built on a dump that caused lots of problems, Lansdowne was redeveloped for housing after years of neglect, and Foxfire's original 18 was also redeveloped for housing. Ohio probably had too many golf courses given the climate but I think now the tables have turned where a new course could thrive if done right.

Getting it right isn't easy and the piece of property plays a huge part in it. The other major factors are making the layout fun for all players, designing it so maintenance costs aren't crazy (e.g. can't have 100 bunkers) and avoiding a design that causes pace of play issues. Of course having competent people in charge is just as important. It can be done but I admit it's not easy to thread this needle. Having zero competition within 30 minutes in your weight class sure would be a nice leg up though.

I'm not going to hold my breath but man it would be cool to see it happen in Athens and give me another reason to drive back more often.


Good analysis. But let’s be fair the original 18 at Foxfire can’t keep up with the newer 18 which is a treat to play.


Alas, the longest bunker in the Midwest is no longer though. In my opinion 14, 15, and 16 at the Players Club is the most difficult stretch of holes you will encounter anywhere in Ohio. I've seen more double digit scores on those holes than anywhere. Sadly, The Players Club is also suffering from lack of maintenance though. I hope some of the money from the new homes being developed finds its way back into the golf course. The greens were like glass and lightning fast in the 90s/early 2000s when I played it often. I played HS golf there regularly and it just chewed up the lower tier guys like no other course we played. I am a sucker for the hardest tracks and the Players Club scratches that itch for me still.

Last Edited: 12/27/2022 2:40:15 PM by OUs LONG Driver

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