MARINETTE — The Marinette Parks & Recreation Committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of setting a maximum stay length period of 21 consecutive days at City Park campground sites, but left some wiggle room for those hoping to camp for longer periods of time. 

The committee discussed extending the maximum time period for guests in the City Park campground in its Dec. 11 meeting, as well as the possibility of employing a campground host to manage the sites. Currently, the maximum number of days in a row a person, family or camping unit can stay at the campground is set at 15 days per calendar year, said committee chairperson and Alderperson-at-large Dorothy Kowalski on Tuesday. 

“We had talked about extending that,” she said. “When we first talked about it, we talked about it being 15 consecutive days, not 15 in a calendar year, so that’s a little bit different as well. I, personally, don’t have an issue if someone’s going to camp here more than 15 days throughout the course of the year.” 

City Clerk Lana Bero said the committee had discussed extending the maximum stay period to three weeks, and said she would like to have the maximum stay length include a provision wherein a guest could request a longer stay at the city’s discretion. 

“I can see where, if it was full, and you had somebody requesting the site after three weeks, to make that person either move to a different site or vacate the campground,” she said. “Last year, we had a gentleman stay the whole year because there were sites available and he paid nightly.” 

Ward 5 Alderman Wally Hitt asked whether the city currently has problems with campground guests overstaying. Kowalski said there would be no issue unless the campground was filled and guests with online reservations, which the city is beginning to take this year, had nowhere to camp. 

“You wouldn’t be booting anybody if the campground was empty,” she said. 

Recreation Director Kent Kostelecky suggested the city limit campground stay lengths per site, rather than overall. Hitt said he was not convinced that they needed a limit, and Ward 1 Alderman Ken Keller said he disagreed. 

Following some more discussion, the committee voted unanimously to recommend the City Council set a limit of 21 consecutive days for campground guests, with a possible extension at the discretion of the city, for the $20-per-night campsites with water and electric hook-ups and $10-per-night rustic campsites for tents. Ward 4 Alderman Brian Walters was not present and did not vote. 

After the motion was passed, Mayor Steve Genisot asked if the committee wanted to take action regarding a campground host. Kowalski suggested they gather more information and see how many guests sign up for online reservations before taking it under consideration. 

Bero asked that the committee discuss at its next meeting the city’s approach toward transient homeless individuals who occasionally use the sites and the payment methods for campsite usage. The city currently offers a lock box at the campground for guests to drive up and pay without going to City Hall, which Bero said may need to be removed in order to keep track of which campsites are available.