May 30, 2015 12:15 PM
New owner means new options for troubled Epsom campground
EPSOM - Circle 9 Ranch, a campground that has been neglected over the past several years, has a new owner who is restoring the grounds, bringing things up to code and enforcing a new set of rules for campers.
Sonny Sell, who has lived in Epsom for 17 years, bought the foreclosed campground about three weeks ago and has started cleaning and investing in the property.
"It definitely turned into the Wild, Wild West out here when nobody owned it," Phil Blankenship, one of the residents, told the Concord Monitor.
Blankenship said campers were not paying rent, and some were even shooting guns behind the campground.
The ranch was foreclosed on last fall when the owner Norm Gentry stopped paying his property taxes . The campground went through several hands including Arthur Sullivan, a big-time real estate developer, who backed out of purchasing the property and an out-of-state bank that shut down heat and electricity before it got it got its new owner.
Sell, who has experience restoring restaurants and houses, has set up a payment plan for current residents to catch up on rent, and some were not happy.
Those who didn't want to abide by the new rules have left. Sell has put $30,000.00 into the grounds and over the next few weeks, plans to invest another $30,000.00 for additional improvements.
He has already brought the facility up to code by updating a potentially health-hazardous pool, giving the dance hall a new look, and cleaning up dangerous wires that were laying around the grounds.
Sell also told the Monitor he hopes to restore the campground's reputation after the bad reviews online.
"It's a hurdle, but it's something I have to live with and change that. It's probably gonna take a couple years to really get a change. I believe I can do that," he said.