The state of Iowa is ready to cut bait on a gigantic resort it paid more than $90 million to create less than two decades ago.

Honey Creek Resort, located on Lake Rathbun in Moravia, opened back in 2008. According to the Des Moines Register, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is behind the 850-acre resort that had a price tag of $60 million, mostly tax-exempt bonds. The Iowa Legislature paid $33 million more to cover outstanding bonds before Delaware North began managing the property in 2016. That's a whole lot of money to make up, and things haven't panned out as hoped.

There's no doubt Honey Creek Resort is a picturesque place.

Google Earth
Google Earth

And there is plenty to offer, including watersports.

Honey Creek Resort
Honey Creek Resort

An 18-hole golf course:

An indoor water park:

There's also a variety of lodging options, including your own cottage.

The resort also features a restaurant. Everything you need, right? So what's the problem? The money Honey Creek Resort was expected to bring in just hasn't been there.

Is Honey Creek Resort simply too far from a major metropolitan area? It's a little over 90 minutes from Des Moines. It's a 2-hour and 30-minute trip from Cedar Rapids and 2-hours and 50-minutes from Waterloo.

Whatever the reasons are that Honey Creek Resort hasn't become the destination that the state of Iowa thought it would be, one thing is certain. The COVID pandemic dealt it an awful blow.

The Des Moines Register reports Delaware North was expected to pay Iowa $1 million in each year from their profits while managing the resort. The caveat to that deal... the $1 million was due when Delaware North reached annual revenue of $7 million. Revenues haven't been near that level in years.

According to the Des Moines Register, Honey Creek's 2018 revenue was $6.2 million. In 2019, it was $5.9 million. In 2020, the resort operated in the red. When 2021 came to a close, Delaware North said they wanted out.

Tammie Krausman of the Iowa DNR says,

Delaware North will be operating (Honey Creek) normally this summer, and will continue to promote the property and accept future bookings... If a sale is possible, that is DNR's preference at this time.

An appraisal of the property is forthcoming.

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