MASON, Ohio — It's happened again.
The new luxury campground near Kings Island, Camp Cedar, has been delayed for a second time this month, and it will now miss the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The camp was supposed to open June 14, but officials pushed the date back to June 24, and now to an "unknown" opening date.
Michelle Harrison of Mt Healthy, who reserved a luxury cabin for the Fourth of July, learned just this week her reservation was canceled.
"So I called today just to make sure. Because it is Wednesday, and I am checking in Friday. But she told me unfortunately they didn't get the permits they needed and they are pushing the opening back to July 14."
Other frustrated campers like Feryal Kastikas of Florence, Kentucky, said they are beyond disappointed. "I understand the first time, but a second time?" she said.
Kastikas and her husband took time off work to take their two children to a Camp Cedar cabin this month. The campsite canceled their first reservation over Father's Day weekend, and their second reservation for June 26.
Camp Cedar is giving her a full refund, but Kastikas said she hoped for more, such as a free stay, or free Kings Island passes.
"I don't know that a refund is enough for all our trouble," she said.
Rachel Steed of Franklin County, Ohio, said her three kids were heartbroken when they learned their Kings Island camping trip was canceled. "They cried, and wondered why this would happen, why they would wait so long to tell us," she said.
Steed, like other campers, is also getting a full refund for her cabin, but she has to scramble to make other vacation plans now.
Why the delays, and when will it open?
Camp Cedar looks almost ready to open when viewed from outside.
Workers are watering the grass and putting the finishing touches on the new luxury campground, just north of Kings Island. The Grand Lodge, the centerpiece of the campground, appears completed.
The trees and shrubs are in place, green grass is growing and RV sites appear to be fully set up with electrical hookups and picnic tables.
But whether or not the pools are filled is unknown. The pools could be the reason for the delay, as there is a major shortage of pumps, chlorine tabs, pool liners and other pool equipment.
What the park and campground owners say
Kings Island does not own the new campground and has no control over the opening.
Park spokesman Chad Showalter said, "Small Brothers and Terra Firma, the joint owners of Camp Cedar, informed Kings Island that the campground will not open on June 24, as expected, due to continued construction delays.
"We were disappointed to learn this, but agree with the owners that there are outstanding issues which need to be addressed before the campground can deliver a high-quality experience for its guests. As the property manager, Kings Island is not responsible for the construction or completion of Camp Cedar."
Erin Ruppenthal, spokeswoman for the campground's owners, said, "It has been a challenging year, and a combination of unfavorable weather, labor and material shortages, necessitates further postponement of welcoming guests."
Ruppenthal didn't speak about specific reasons why the camp hasn't opened.
While some guests have heard July 14 as the new opening, Ruppenthal would not give a new opening date, but she said all canceled guests will get a full refund.
Nor would the campground or Kings Island comment on whether there is a permit issue, and no one we spoke with at the City of Mason or Warren County was aware of any permitting problems.
A check of Camp Cedar's website reveals openings starting on July 10.
Rachel Steed is not waiting, though. She drove her children to sister park Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, and booked a local hotel, to salvage the holiday weekend.
"We're going to make the best of it," she said.
As always, don't waste your money.
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