Originally created 10/10/96

Fort studies privatization of rec area



The Army is studying privatization of its 900-acre recreation area at Thurmond Lake, a move that could benefit taxpayers and users of the area, an army colonel said.

Col. Thom Tuckey said a study is under way of how private management would affect the area off Washington Road in Leah that is a popular recreation spot with soldiers and their families and civilians. The area offers rental cabins, a beach, marina and children's summer camp.

"The object of privatization is to improve the service and maintain the cost," Col. Tuckey said. "It would have to be something that benefits soldiers and civilians."

Col. Tuckey said the move to privatize the area is part of a broader trend to contract out services at military installations.

The recreation area is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which leases it to Fort Gordon. Management of the area costs the fort about $250,000 per year.

The corps has indicated it is willing to work with fort officials to privatize the space.

"We've basically said we're happy to work with you, consistent with current regulations on federal land," said Jim Parker, corps spokesman.

If the area is privatized, it probably won't happen for at least a year, Col. Tuckey said.