MEXICO – An employee with the River Valley Recreation Center met with the Planning Board on Thursday evening to discuss the possibility of turning a section of the recreation park into a campground.

Arthur MacIsaac, who works at the recreation center, told board members that the idea to set up campsites near the tree line of the park is “in its infancy stages.”

“We just don’t want to get shot down right off the bat,” MacIsaac said. “We want to be able to explore this thing and see if it’s something we can move forward with. We just want to have something that we can give to our children that they can enjoy 10 or 15 years from now.”

Board member Reggie Arsenault said his biggest concern was the potential for people staying overnight at the park to smoke and drink alcohol.

“There are strict regulations on not allowing smoking or alcohol at that park,” Arsenault said. “It’s a children’s park. How are you going to make sure that there’s no drinking or smoking going on? You’d need someone there 24 hours a day.”

Arsenault later asked police Chief Roy Hodsdon whether having a campsite at the park would be a good idea.

Hodsdon said he had no doubts that people would bring alcohol to the campsites, and “that’s where the problems will happen.”

“You also might want to think about a noise ordinance, because it could get loud down there,” he said.

MacIsaac said the initial plan was to have eight to 10 sites with power and eight to 10 sites without power.

“When you have a campground, you build revenue, and when you build revenue, you’re able to fund other things that you want,” he said. “If you have a campground, you’ll be bringing people to town that normally wouldn’t come here. That helps the surrounding businesses. This could be a really great thing.”

Arsenault said MacIsaac, Recreation Department Director Wayne Sevigny and others had a lot of studying and homework to do.

“This isn’t something that would happen for at least a couple of years,” Arsenault told MacIsaac. “There’s a lot of strict research that needs to be done before you can get this thing off the ground.”

MacIsaac said, “We realize that, and we know we’re in the planning stages of this thing. That’s why I wanted to come to you and give you an idea of where we were at and get an idea of what the Planning Board thought.”

He said he hopes the Recreation Center can eventually bring baseball tournaments to the Recreation Park, in addition to hosting weddings and family reunions.

“We have a lot of things that we want to with that park,” MacIsaac said.

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