South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks offers Spring Creek concession lease

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A popular eating spot that state government owns on the Missouri River in central South Dakota is up for a new lease.

The state Division of Parks and Recreation is seeking proposals from potential operators for the Spring Creek Restaurant.

It’s part of Spring Creek Recreation Area about 20 minutes drive north of Pierre on Lake Oahe.

The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission scurried to find an operator for it in spring 2020 after the previous group left.

Frost Enterprises, based in Onida, has run the restaurant since May 2020. Business owner Jeremey Frost agreed to a one-year extension that expires December 31, 2021.

Frost doesn’t plan to compete for the new lease. “I am not putting in a proposal to operate Spring Creek again. The only way this would change is if once again no one else puts in a proposal to operate,” he told KELOLAND News on Friday.

Nick Harrington is communications director for the state Game, Fish and Parks Department. He outlined the process.

“Administrative rules require GFP to issue a prospectus to give the public, including the current concessionaire, an opportunity to submit a proposal to operate the restaurant.  The current prospectus is offering a three year lease,” Harrington said.

If GFP does not receive an acceptable offer, the parks and recreation director, Scott Simpson, has an option to release the prospectus again for 30 more days, according to Harrington.

He said there is also the option to change the prospectus, with the commission’s approval, and release the revised prospectus with the new terms.

“If there is no interest in operating the restaurant through the prospectus process, GFP would likely work to identify an alternative use of the building,” Harrington said.

The restaurant is on the second floor of a building that overlooks a deep-water marina and public boat ramps on one side and rental cabins on the other, The department manages all of those.

The department in 2020 also began running the convenience store on the building’s first floor. Harrington said the department would continue to operate the store.

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