Commissioner Hasty addresses county parking lot installation along Hwy 5

Mitch Prentice
Lake Sun Leader
Camden County Courthouse.

Local concern was raised over the weekend regarding county gravel work being done along Highway 5 in Camdenton for what appeared to be a new parking lot. This lot is located near the turnoff for Old Route 5, near the Ozarks Amphitheater. Local reports indicate that county trucks had been seen dumping gravel, along with the installation of steel mesh. Those questioning the work were concerned that the county was using road and bridge materials for this lot instead of on local roads. 

Camden County Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty provided comment on this situation, hoping to explain why the work was being done.

In his comments, Hasty says that the property in question was gifted to Camden County from the Missouri Department of Transportation when the Highway 5 reroute was taking place. Over the last couple of years, the county came to an agreement with a local excavator to level the property for a parking lot at no cost to the county. The excavator took the material gained from the excavation for his own projects. The county ended up with leveled property afterward.

Hasty went on to detail the costs of the project, which reads as follows:

“The excavator estimates the cost for removal at between $31,875 and $63,750 plus $110 per hour for the push off tractor. That is for 500 loads. However, the excavator estimates that the actual total loads removed were in excess of 650. Obviously, the total cost to have this done would have been substantial. However, Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty, worked this deal out with the excavator, and brought it to the commission. 1st District Commissioner Bev Thomas and 2nd District Commissioner Don Williams agreed that it was a great deal for the county. We instructed him to proceed,” Hasty said.

Hasty went on to say that the commission always intended for this area to be laid with rock following the excavation, which he says is “just common sense.” He says there was consideration given to selling this tract for commercial sites, but it was decided that the property would have value to the county in the future, so the sale was set aside. 

As for the decision to lay gravel, Hasty says the commission was made aware of parking concerns for the Dogwood Festival and knew they were in a position to help. After consulting administrators at Camden County Road and Bridge, they determined that a lot would be feasible by the date of the festival. He says Commissioner Gohagan emphasized that the work needed to be completed before that date.

Hasty says the material was a part of the budget and a part of the bid acceptance procedures that occurred last summer. He says Williams voiced a concern to make sure this work would not interfere with normal Road and Bridge maintenance and, in order to avoid this, the vast majority of the work was performed by contracted companies on the weekends. This was a unanimous decision.

“The land cost nothing.  The leveling of the lot cost nothing.  The gravel that was put down increased the value far beyond the gravel cost,” Hasty said

As for the property’s use in the future, Hasty says this is uncertain at this point until base rock and gravel work are completed.