Heber RV park in transition
April 17, 2009
Summer 2009 is the beginning of a new era for the RV and camping resort at the base of the Jordanelle Dam.
For starters, it has a new name. The Heber Valley RV Park and Resort is no more. It is now River’s Edge at Deer Park. It’s also far more than an RV park since it installed 49 new cabins to host employees of Deer Valley Resort this winter.
Since the area was homesteaded by a pioneer family 150 years ago, it has been a popular camping location, said part-owner John Kenworthy. When eminent domain closed most of the area for the construction of the Jordanelle Dam almost 20 years ago, only 40 acres of the historic Jordan family property remained.
Chay Eysser, the other owner, purchased that land and started the resort, but zoning restrictions prevented the installment of sewer lines and other basic amenities.
The completion of the hydroelectric generator at the base of the dam permitted a change of zoning, Kenworthy said. The deal with Deer Valley to host employees during the ski season provided a reason and financial means to install utilities and two-room cabins.
The deal was a win-win. Kim Mayhew, human resources director at Deer Valley, said finding housing for seasonal staff is always a challenge and this was a positive arrangement they plan to use again in the future.
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"We’ve had housing for several years and we’re very proud of that," she explained. "But with fewer and fewer options for seasonal workers to live in town in rental units, we started to look for additional options."
In addition to the 170 beds the resort already has in town, the cabins at River’s Edge provided about 200 additional beds. The 49 cabins housed about four people each. Each room held a bunk bed and its own bathroom with a shared kitchen area.
Vans shuttled the workers to Deer Valley and saved parking space at the resort while making the commute safer.
Deer Valley’s lease on the cabins ended with the closing of the resort last week.
"This was quite a huge venture for both River’s Edge and us. Together we made it work. This certainly was a good model," she said.
Eysser’s staff is now readying the cabins for summer. The purchase was a long-term investment, she said, but the first season worked out well.
The cabins are the perfect size to host families and attendees of corporate retreats, she said. The recent completion of a conference room means the resort is also ready to hold business meetings, wedding receptions and family parties.
The park has always been popular for family reunions and fishing retreats; now it is equipped to handle more people and provide an enhanced experience, Kenworthy said.
"We have 17 family reunions and two weddings booked already this summer," he said.
Most of those are repeat clients and each group will bring about 50 people with them some over 200. In the past, about a dozen would stay in RV’s, a dozen would stay in the resort’s yurts and the rest would find lodging in Midway, Heber or Park City.
Now with cabins, entire families or wedding parties can stay on site, he said.
In addition to the newly installed utilities, the cabins, the renewable energy provided by the dam and the completed renovations, the restoration of the Provo River was also completed recently, returning it to how it was in the 1850s, he said.
"There’s just so much to discover down here and we want to be the venue to showcase it all," Kenworthy said.