No Guarantees For Former Burr Oak Workers

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When Burr Oak Lodge and Conference Center closed earlier this year, approximately 45 people lost their jobs there.

Now that the Lodge is reopening, will they go back to work?

That's not clear, according to Bethany McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

McCorkle said today the former employees may have to compete with others who apply to work for U.S. Hotels, which will operate the lodge on a short term management service contract.

ODNR has announced plans to invest $2 million at the Lodge and the cabins at the state park.

"Some of the rooms are very outdated," says McCorkle. "They need some capital improvements. Some of the rooms' – currently there are 60 in the lodge – walls will be knocked down to provide suites for families.  Also some improvements to the décor."

Burr Oak Lodge is expected to reopen as soon as next month but McCorkle says it will take several months to do the renovations.

"It's safe to say it should be open (with the renovations) for Memorial Day weekend," she says.

McCorkle says the next step toward saving Burr Oak Lodge is attracting visitors, and to that end, ODNR is planning a "public discussion" on August 16th.

"So we need to come up with a different business model on what we should do to attract visitors to Burr Oak," says McCorkle.  "Nothing's been determined and nothing's been ruled out.  We'd like to hear from the community. We're trying to figure out the best way to get people down to the lodge."

The meeting will be from 5pm to 7pm at the lodge.