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Snowstar looking to operate year-round

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ANDALUSIA, Illinois -- Snowstar Winter Sports Park is looking to operate year-round.

Owners have applied for rezoning with the Rock Island County Zoning Board of Appeals, and a hearing will be held on Wednesday, August 2, to consider the year-round request.

Dan McCanna, general manager at Snowstar, said there are plans to use the park's lodge and acreage during the spring, summer and fall months.

"We are looking for possibly wedding receptions, class reunions, family reunions. We did include a ropes course, a possible zip line, but that would all be down the road a ways before finances would allow it," said McCanna.

McCanna says there has already been public interest in using the indoor space.

"We've had a lot of people that have called, that have tried to rent it, and we have to tell them, unfortunately, no, we're not zoned for it," said McCanna.

Historically, Snowstar has had a very limited window to operate, typically opening from mid-December to St. Patrick's Day. Mother Nature has not been kind to the park over the past two years, further limiting that time frame.

Managers hope a year-round operation could ease those worries.

"There are very few winter resorts that aren't year-round now. I mean, to have a facility that sits empty nine months out of the year, when you still have fixed expenses, it's just the way everybody's going," said McCanna.

Wednesday's public meeting gets underway at 7 p.m. at the Rock Island County Building.