Pine Lakes Plans To Add Swimming Pool, Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Franchise For 2011

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Yogi Bear is coming to Pittsfield.

Pine Lakes Resort will become a Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park franchise for camping season 2011.

As part of the transformation, the park will add a swimming pool with clubhouse, restrooms, snack bar, meeting room, arcade and laundry room along with the recognizable bear -- paid for in part with a loan from the city of Pittsfield.

"We have a beautiful park and a lot to offer. Becoming a Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park franchise, we will have even more to offer," said Deb Festa, who owns the Pittsfield campground with her husband Ted.

Adding a swimming pool to supplement the resort's 45-acre lake had been on the wish list since the Festas took over the campground in October 2007. Offering a pool is a Jellystone Park franchise requirement, and for the Festas it's part of a larger $200,000 improvement project near the pavilion and overlooking the lake.

Plans already have been submitted to the state for review, and the couple is waiting on the required permits.

"We hope to break ground just as soon as possible to have the pool ready to go for the next camping season," Festa said.

The Pittsfield City Council this week approved a $30,000 five-year loan to Pine Lakes for the project from its revolving loan fund.

"We thank the city very much for helping us along with our financing," Festa said. "It is going towards the project. It will be part of the engineering and construction fees." The Jellystone Park franchise, with over 70 locations across the U.S. and Canada, offers family-oriented campgrounds providing planned activities and a well-known name to campers.

"Most families recognize the Yogi Bear name and only camp in Jellystone Parks. We feel that it will bring us extra business," Festa said. "We already have a great park. This will be a wonderful addition." Pine Lakes will be the fourth Jellystone Park location in Illinois.

Joining the franchise will mean a name change to Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park at Pine Lakes, new signs, a Yogi Bear statue and the bear himself.

"Yogi Bear will be in the park every day for a short time," Festa said. "Yogi's den will be right on the property. He'll come out from time to time and be with the kids. It will be a lot of fun." Joining the Jellystone Park franchise supplements other recent additions to the campground including six rustic cabins, targeting noncampers and sleeping up to five people, that opened in May. Pine Lakes also offers camping with full hookups and pull-through sites, tent sites, primitive tent camping, rustic cabins and fully furnished lakefront cottages. The campground is taking waiting list reservations now and officially begins taking 2011 reservations in January.

"Whether you're a camper or a noncamper, we've got facilities available," Festa said. "We hope to add more camping cabins down the road as well as floating cabins which will actually be in our lake. Our goal is to make our campground one of the premier destination parks in the state of Illinois." On the Net:

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