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Heat, algae hurting businesses

Staff writer

Sweltering temperatures and alerts about blue-green algae have led to fewer campers than usual visiting Marion County Park and Lake and Marion Reservoir in July, resulting in slow business for people who cater to campers.

Marion County Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson said that revenue during the past two weeks is down 41 percent compared to the same time in 2010.

Jeannie Vinduska said her business, D&J Liquor, has seen some affects from having fewer visitors to the lake.

“We see less people from the lake because they’re just not there,” she said.

Canada Bait ’N Tackle has been especially hard-hit by conditions, co-owner Donna Kreutziger said.

“I’m about half (in sales) of what I was last year,” she said.

That causes extra problems, because she is trying to sell the shop.

“It’s really hot, so if you can’t get in the water, why do you want to come to the lake?” Kreutziger asked.

She said information about the blue-green algae advisory at the reservoir and warning at the county lake needs to be clearer. The reservoir remains safe for swimming and skiing as rangers monitor the situation.

The county lake is closed to water-contact activities, but fishing and boating are safe at both the county lake and reservoir. As of Thursday, the warning at the county lake and advisory at the reservoir remained in place, a press release from Kansas Department of Health and Environment said.

Restaurants also serve many campers, although they aren’t as dependent on visitors to the lakes as Kreutziger’s business.

“Our business has been slower the last 10 days,” Country Lakes Café co-owner Barbara Smith said Thursday. “We miss, and we rely on, that lake revenue.”

Smith said she was reminded of the movie, “Jaws,” because the mayor in the movie is worried about how closing beaches will affect the local economy.

“One thing is for sure, our community does depend on summer activity,” Smith said.

That was evident Friday morning at Marion Dry Cleaning & Laundry. Nobody was there to wash laundry at 9 a.m.

“Usually by now I’d have three or four people from the lake in here doing their laundry,” owner Donna Rosiere said. “We haven’t been seeing any of them this year like we have in the past.”

That scene has been typical of this summer, she said. Local customers continue to do business, but the out-of-town customers have been mostly absent.

“It’s been a tough summer here,” Rosiere said.

Greg Carlson of Carlsons’ Grocery said the store usually has an increase in revenue during the summer because of campers and people with vacation homes at the lake and reservoir.

“The additional revenue is not like it was,” Carlson said.

The people with vacation homes have stuck around, but there haven’t been as many campers shopping at the store, he said.

“I miss those campers,” he said.

Last modified July 28, 2011

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