New lift is next, as Spring Creek upgrades

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Game Fish and Parks Department

SPRING CREEK, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s Game, Fish and Parks Department has invested many thousands of dollars in bringing Spring Creek resort up to modern standards after a new concession operator couldn’t be found in 2018.

But one improvement yet to come at the seasonally popular Missouri River marina complex on Lake Oahe north of Pierre is a new indoor lift that can carry customers up nine steps into the restaurant.

Park manager Brandon Brake said a $28,000 unit that can handle up to 700 pounds will arrive in the coming weeks.

Brake was hired as Spring Creek manager in March 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began in South Dakota. He searched for a South Dakota company to bid on providing the new lift system, but businesses didn’t respond in the uncertainty.

He finally found one company, but Game, Fish and Parks requires three bids. He eventually located two others this spring and one was selected a few weeks ago.

In the meantime, a long wood delivery ramp at the rear of the restaurant provided temporary access. The new lift replaces a steep outdoor ramp from the concession’s previous management that was torn down last year by GFP because the wood had rotted. Customers who used the old one had to travel around two sides of the building when they went in or out.

“We’ve accomplished a lot of things, but still working on it,” Brake told KELOLAND News. “Lately it’s been some 10-hour days. I personally work about seven days a week just to get Spring Creek recreation area to a level of, as I always say, safety first, customer service second.”

A door and window will be moved back when the new ramp goes in at the bottom of the nine steps. Off the dining room, there’s now a new second-floor outdoor deck built by GFP, with capacity limited to 28 people. The kitchen has been substantially upgraded since GFP took over again. A different restaurant and bar management group was hired.

The first-floor convenience store that GFP directly operates has new coolers, a new wood-planked floor and walls paneled in shiplap restored from the marina’s old wood docks.

One of the 10 rental cabins is in the final stage of a full GFP remodel, complete with a wheelchair-accessible ramp too. The deep-water marina GFP runs received many improvements and can accommodate boats as long as 60 feet, three seasons of the year.

“Being on this peninsula, it’s almost like Spring Creek is the community center. We’ve had meetings with the road districts, water districts,” Brake said. “I want to give everyone an opportunity to utilize this park as a resource for them, whether it be recreation or community.

“It all ties back into the community and we try to create that, a true community,” he continued. “We’re not just a fishing destination, but we’re a place of passion, a place of love, a place of community. I take great pride in what I do for a living.”

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