Renovated cabins unveiled at Lake Hope State Park
ZALESKI — After months of construction, a ceremony was held Tuesday morning to celebrate 26 newly-renovated cabins at Lake Hope State Park.
Ohio Department of Natural Resource Director Jim Zehringer hosted the event and helped unveil the new cabins alongside other public officials and dignitaries in attendance.
Among those also present were state park volunteers and staff, Chief of Parks and Watercraft Mike Bailey, Vinton County Marketing Director Caleb Appleman, State Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and the three Vinton County Commissioners, Jerry Zinn, Tim Eberts, and Michael Bledsoe.
“The integration between state forest and also state parks is critical to this park and many other parks across the state,” Bailey told those gathered.
Lake Hope is one of 74 state parks that benefited from an investment of $88.5 million by Gov. John Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly in 2014 toward state park improvements.
Zehringer praised Lake Hope State Park, commenting “I don’t know if you can find a better spot in the State of Ohio.”
“I have been asked what is my favorite state park, and I have been to all of them, and I always respond that it is like picking your favorite child, you can’t do it. Each one has an extremely unique beauty about it,” he continued.
Smith, whose 93rd District includes the western portion of Vinton County, called Lake Hope “the best kept secret in Ohio.”
“We need to spread the word and have more people down here,” he said.
The total cost of renovations for the 26 cabins was around $532,000, or approximately $20,000 spent per cabin. The cabin floors were sanded and refinished. Each cabin also received new furniture, upgraded appliances and plumbing, while keeping as much of the original materials and structure as well.
“We kept the integrity of the floors and walls and fireplace. We saved a lot of money and they were just too nice to completely gut,” Zehringer commented. “The cabins were top priority.”
Other improvements planned for the state park include adding amperage to the electrical campsites, updating shower houses and adding flow toilets in the restrooms.
The cabins were built in the 1960s and 1970s, while some remain from the 1930s.
Park maintenance staff and local contractors, Goodin Builders of New Albany, handled renovations.
“Tourism is an industry for Vinton County, we all know that. It brings in a lot of tax money and brings in a lot of people people to enjoy what we have,” Commissioner Bledsoe said. “We want more tourism. We just love the parks.”