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Cozy Pond campground in Webster plans to add new sites

For the third year in a row, the owners of Cozy Pond Camping Resort in Webster plan to expand.

Joe DiPrima, one of the owners, will go before Webster’s zoning board Sept. 10 to seek an exception that will allow for 14 new RV campsites. The 78-acre property currently has 93 campsites, with 87 for RVs and six for tents. That’s up from 69 campsites in 2011, DiPrima’s first year operating the camp.

The campground was known as Cold Brook Campground until 2009 when its parent company filed for bankruptcy. At that point, relations with the town were sour because of a dispute over expansion plans. Manchester businessman Brian Thibeault bought it and then sold it to DiPrima, of Methuen, Mass. The site has the resources, including sewage and water hookups, for 129 campsites. Given the history with the previous owner, DiPrima expanded slowly, adding 10 sites after the first year, 14 after the second, and is now looking to add another 14 for next year.

Cozy Pond’s season runs from Mothers Day through Columbus Day. About 50 percent of the campsites are used by seasonal campers who keep their RVs there year-round, while the other half are used by short-term campers. On busy holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day and Labor Day, there is more demand than the site can handle.

“We’ve always booked out on Memorial Day. And the second year we added 10 sites and still booked out. This year we added 14 sites and actually booked out sooner,” DiPrima said. “We’re needing more and more sites.”

The campground includes Cozy Pond, where campers can swim, fish or go boating, as well as ball fields, horseshoes, a pavilion for children’s activities and bingo games on Saturday nights, and other amenities. DiPrima said he wants to add more attractions to help turn Cozy Pond into a “destination” campground, where campers stay on-site for the activities provided rather than use it as a base while exploring other offerings in the area.

“We’re a family campground, we’re not a party campground,” DiPrima said. “We do run a lot of activities.”

Most of Cozy Pond’s seasonal campers live within a half-hour to an hour of the campsite, DiPrima said.

At the Sept. 10 public hearing, the zoning board will decide whether to grant DiPrima’s request to expand. He will also have to go before the town’s planning board. DiPrima said a lot of residents showed up to the hearing the first year he asked to expand. Only a few people showed up the next year, and he hopes the process will go smoothly this year, too.

Bruce Johnson, chairman of Webster’s board of selectmen, said DiPrima has followed all the right steps as he looks to expand. Johnson said the campground even operates a small store that people in town can use to buy milk and other items.

“It’s good to see everyone working together,” Johnson said.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

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