Strawberry Park in holding pattern after sale at auction
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Preston - posted Tue., Mar. 8, 2011
Strawberry Park Resort Campground has changed hands for the first time since its establishment in 1974, and it may change hands again before the summer season gets underway.
The campground and RV park, which has seen recent financial setbacks, was sold at auction Feb. 26 to Toronto, Ontario-based TD Bank, one of its creditors, for $8 million. Its estimated debt was $12 million.
A resort management company has expressed interest in taking over the 160-acre property. Ian Willbraham, president of Royalty Resorts, attended the auction as what he termed “an interested party.”
“We were interested to see who the purchaser was going to be. We do have an interest” in Strawberry Park, he said.
Royalty Resorts operates three RV parks in North America- two in Florida and one in Ontario near Niagara Falls, said Willbraham.
Representatives of TD Bank were slated to visit the campground this week on what recreation director David Novakowski called a “fact-finding mission.” He said that a clearer picture of the park’s future would likely emerge from the meeting.
The campground occupies 160 acres in Preston. More than 180 sites in the park are owned by its residents, whose investments in the park remain in limbo until some decision is reached by the ultimate owner. The park employs about 100 staff members during the summer months.
According to its website, plans are still underway for the park’s annual bluegrass and Cajun zydeco music festivals in early June. The park’s season doesn’t get underway until next month, when it hosts field days and outings for local schools. At the moment, “everything’s operating as normal,” said Novakowski.