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Four bid to run state resort

CHARLESTON, W.Va. --  Four companies are bidding for rights to manage Canaan Valley Resort State Park for at least the next five years.

Bidders include Guest Services Inc. of Fairfax, Va., which has operated the lodge, restaurants and conference center at the 6,000-acre Tucker County resort for 20 years.

Diane Holley-Brown, Department of Administration spokeswoman, said an evaluation team is reviewing the companies' bid packages -- each of which run several hundred pages, covering everything from restaurant menus to plans to expand recreational opportunities and increase convention and conference business.

Holley-Brown said the evaluation team -- whose identities are kept confidential to avoid possible outside influences -- are in the early stages of reviewing the four bid packages.

"They'll be meeting and try to do the technical scoring on each of the bids," she said.

In addition to Guest Services, bidders are:

* Aramark Parks and Destinations of Philadelphia, which operates numerous resort and conference facilities, including the Georgetown Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, Zephyr Cove Resort in Lake Tahoe, Calif., and the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown.

* U.S. Hotel and Resort Management of Sioux Falls, S.D., which operates facilities in 20 states, primarily in the Northwest and Midwest, including the Custer State Park Resorts in South Dakota, and the Hueston<co > Woods and Shawnee State Park resorts in Ohio.

* Benchmark Hospitality of The Woodlands, Texas, operator of numerous resorts and conference centers including One Bel Harbour<co > Resort and Spa in Miami, and the Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii. Locally, Benchmark operates Stonewall Resort in Stonewall Jackson State Park near Weston.

The winner of the contract will operate the resort's new 160-room lodge and conference center, 43 ski slopes, 18-hole golf course, and numerous other activities including biking, hiking and a nature center. It will also operate the restaurant at nearby Blackwater Falls State Park.

The request for bids seek a resort manager that will:

* Have the highest operating standards.

* Provide activities that keep guests in the park.

* Create a destination location for groups and conferences.

* Enhance profitability of operations.

* Maintain competitive rates.

* Provide quality, affordable, enticing food service.

* Enhance the park as a winter activity destination, as well as a golfing destination in warm-weather months.

Holley-Brown said that once the scoring of the technical evaluations are completed, cost sheets listing each company's annual management fee will be opened and scored. The two scores for each bidder will then be ranked.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.

 


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