Lodge chief: Keep Mountain Lodge operating to promote eventual sale

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Harvey Desnick made a proposal to the Keweenaw County Board, in which he offered his services for the upcoming operating year of the KML.

EAGLE RIVER — After the sales agreements to sell the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge were withdrawn by two separate prospective buyers, what to do next has been a main question of Keweenaw County Board members.

The question has also been on the mind of KML Coordinator Harvey Desnick.

“With the turn of events on the sales front,” Desnick said to the board, “I’m proposing that Sue (Desnick’s wife) and I continue to operate the business of KML through the winter, with the intent to open the KML in the spring, and have the facilities and staffing ready to deliver another season.”

Desnick told the board that in his opinion the lodge should remain fully operational to attract a buyer. He said he has already begun working toward that end for the 2018 operating year.

“We need to sign and commit as many of the 20 or so event requests we have as soon as possible,” Desnick said. “We’re taking lodging reservations for the next season on an ongoing basis.

“Golf membership renewals information needs to go out. I’ve already begun reserving staffing for 2018 on the basis that, not that I’m looking forward to another season, but under the reality that any buyer will likely expect a going concern, which dictates we keep KML open and operating for the 2018 season with business as usual.”

Desnick said if the board accepts the proposal, he will use the same booking system as this year.

“We will put events under contract on the same terms that worked well this last season,” he said, “and we’ll rely on outside caterers booked throughout independently.”

With what has been learned from this season, Desnick said, those lessons will be used in making appropriate improvements and further increasing efficiency.

“I believe our current cash position will facilitate these activities into 2018 without county assistance,” Desnick told the board. “To me, selling the lodge is the top priority, and we are committed and dedicated to working for Keweenaw County in completing this mission of bringing the sale process to a successful (conclusion) without becoming a financial burden to the county, and leaving the new owner with a viable business opportunity.”

Desnick emphasized his wanting to dispel rumors circulating around the county in regard to the KML.

“So far so good, it’s just that maintaining this posture, especially with the public and other buyers is important. I especially wanted to make the point tonight that we have done well this year, there’s been a lot of overall misconceptions that the county still is burning money on the Mountain Lodge, and I wanted to confirm that no, you haven’t. In fact, we’ve paid for ourselves and paid it back.”