TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians will soon open its new park for recreational vehicles on State Highway 10 next to the Illinois River.
After some delay, the park is expected to open "in the next week or so," according to Assistant Chief Jamie Thompson.
"We have our dump station to complete," Thompson said. "We also want to dress up the sites and number them all. We want it to open in time for the [Medicine Stone] concert on the river."
Thompson said the Echota Village RV Park will be open year-round and will feature water and electric hookups for 16 vehicles. Electrical attachments of 30 and 50 amps will be available for $40 a night Thursday-Sunday and $35 a night Monday-Wednesday. A minimum three-night stay will be required and reservations will be accepted.
Short-range plans call for the inclusion of an on-site store marketing snacks, drinks and camping equipment, and primitive campsites available for $12 a night.
The immediate delay has been getting the dump station online. Widespread repairs were needed for the water system, and there are no plans to include sewer hookups. After opening with the dump station, the short-range plans call for construction of a shower facility.
"There are many issues putting in sewer lines that close to the river, and that is why there will be no 'full hookup' sites," Thompson said. "We are also working toward environmental compliance on other issues. We don't want to disturb what is there. There is an existing septic system that will be used for the dump station."
The primitive camping sites will be opened once the shower facility is built.
Thompson said the long-term calls for the establishment of a "cultural village" on adjacent UKB land. There are also reports that a restaurant, sales space for UKB artisans and floating operation are included in the expansion plan.
"We have about 34-35 acres altogether in those hills," he said. "It will be a work in progress, but we want to have the village and some rental cabins up top. We can try to capitalize on some of the traffic along the river."
The park is on S.H. 10 behind the UKB Housing Authority building, across from Falcon Floats, and a website is under construction at www.echotavillagerv.com.
Messages left on Tuesday afternoon with Randall Hendrix, interim executive director for the UKB Corporate Board, and Chief Joe Bunch were not returned by press time.