When George Ward became parks commissioner earlier this year, and started spending the night at a variety of park lodges, he got a sinking feeling about the bedding – literally.
The mattresses were soft, saggy and lumpy. The experience didn’t come as a revelation. He had seen guests comment cards with messages like “worst mattress I’ve ever slept on” or “didn’t get a bit of sleep.”
Commissioner Ward has a firm message for guests: help is on the way. The department ended the fiscal year with $3 million in unspent funds. Some of that money is going to pay for new bedding and to underwrite new features in lodge guest rooms.
In all, the department will invest nearly $225,000 for 950 mattress and box spring sets. The mattresses will soon be installed throughout the 17 resort parks.
The department also will soon provide items that travelers expect. Each guest room will be outfitted with a hair dryer, iron, ironing board, and hanger for the board. The department will invest about $68,000 for those new features.
Also planned are replacement of many small and old television sets in guest rooms and cottages. In all, about $160,000 will be spent for new sets that generally are 27 inches in screen size.
“This is another way that we are transforming our parks,” Ward said. “These are basic comfort items that today’s traveler expects. If we are to grow our business to attract more visitors from other states, we need to meet those fundamental needs.”