By Rick Miller
T&D Resort Inc., owner of Triple R Campground in Franklinville, asked the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency for assistance last week to add an $800,000 LeeKee Lagoon Splash Pad attraction.
Owners John and Jennifer Tinelli, who five years ago bought Triple R Campground on Bryant Hill Road, Franklinville, said they have grown about 30 percent each year. They hope the new attractions can help add 10,000 or more new reservations a year.
The resort is open from April to October and is full most weekends and holidays. The greatest potential for growth is to expand RV camping during weekdays, he said.
The splash pad and large hot tub will complement the resort’s two swimming pools, John Tinelli told members of the Industrial Development Agency during its Feb. 1 meeting.
It should also attract new visitors from the region and beyond, since there are only five in the state and only one other in the region, Jellystone Campground in North Java, John Tinelli said.
Triple R Campground already has a 10/10/10 score with Sam’s Clubs based on competitiveness, cleanliness and visual and environmental quality, John Tinelli explained. The 39-acre campground is located on a 69-acre site and has 214 campsites, a pond, four cabins, RV rentals, volleyball courts and a playground.
Jennifer Tinelli said they are being conservative and will construct the splash pad and hot tub area in two phases. Phase 1 will be the large hot tub. Construction is expected to begin in the spring. Phase 2, the LeeKee Lagoon Splash Pad, will be open in 2020, the resort’s 50th anniversary.
“If we can get it done sooner, we will,” she added. It will be the first such attraction in the county.
The pool capacity will increase from the 105 people to 255 swimmers.
Corey Wiktor, the IDA executive director said the project is seeking sales tax exemption on furnishings and equipment, a tourism destination P.I.L.O.T. (payment in lieu of taxes) and mortgage recording tax exemption valued at at estimated $90,000.
Wiktor noted D&T Resort Inc. had been awarded $160,812 for the project in the latest round of Western New York Regional Economic Development Council grants.
The project is expected to produce two new jobs plus construction jobs and new sales tax revenue.
Jennifer Tinelli said local restaurants and other businesses are always asking when Triple R Campground is going to open because they want to stock up and be ready for the visitors. “We support our local community. We open in 77 days,” she added. This year Triple R Campground will be open from April 20 to Columbus Day.
John Tinelli added, “Our economic impact on Franklinville exceeds anyone else.” There are four other campgrounds in the surrounding area, he said.
Based on the application and the project’s description, the IDA board approved a State Environmental Quality Review Act resolution and agreed to set a public hearing on the project later this month.
Wiktor told the board he is continuing to work to establish an Economic Development Council to advise the IDA and serve as a roundtable for discussions on different sectors of the county’s economy. The first one will be with commercial realtors and investors.
Wiktor also reported the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, of which the Cattaraugus County IDA is a member, will be producing an economic development report for Cattaraugus County.