WORLAND (WNE) — The future of two key concession contracts at Hot Springs State Park remains unclear.
Last November, Wyoming State Parks issued Requests for Proposals to operate Days Inn and Star Plunge for a minimum five-year period, and perform close to $3 million of critical deferred maintenance at these facilities. The work would need to be done by the end of 2022.
Wyoming State Parks’ estimate of what it will cost to bring Days Inn’s critical deferred maintenance up to date comes to almost $1.3 million. For Star Plunge it is nearly $1.4 million.
Days Inn is currently owned by the Wyndham chain of hotels. Star Plunge is owned by Roland Luehne of Thermopolis, and has been owned by the Luehne family since 1975.
The State of Wyoming’s arrangements with Days Inn and Star Plunge are currently on a month-to-month basis, based on the terms of long-expired contracts. Last year, the Wyoming State Legislature passed Senate File 166, which requires for-profit business concessions in Wyoming State Parks to sign contracts or leases with a minimum term of five years.
The 2016 HSSP Master Plan and a 2019 memorandum from the Wyoming Legislative Services Office show that other concessions in HSSP already have such contracts in place.
According to Nick Neylon, deputy director of the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, the current concessionaires have the option of letting the State invest in their businesses, performing some proportion of the necessary updates and maintenance. The businesses would pay an increased contract fee.