New owners of Association Island focusing on 2021 season

Association Island in Henderson Harbor was sold recently for $5.45 million. Watertown Daily Times

HENDERSON HARBOR — Sun Communities Inc., the proud new owner of Association Island and the RV resort it’s home to, has big plans for the future of the property and possibly the surrounding area.

Included in plans for Association Island is the restoration of the property’s older buildings, and Sun Communities is even exploring the possibility of restoring the old town hall on the site to its original condition — a nod to the history that helped make the site such an attractive option for the new buyer.

“Association Island has a lot of history and has a story to tell,” said Marco Broggio, regional vice president of sales and operations for Sun Communities. “We’re hoping to provide a new experience to the tourism and hospitality industry in the area by telling its story (and) by narrating its past, present and future.”

Representatives of Sun Communities say there are plans to develop Snowshoe Island, 35 acres of untouched land down the road from Association Island, sometime in the future. But for now, the immediate focus is on the 2021 camping season and making the ownership transition smooth for guests.

According to Jeff Clark, senior resort manager for the property, there’s currently a large capital expenditure improvement plan in place for the 2021 season.

“What we want to do is expand on the work that Dr. (Nak) Shim was able to do and actually restore these buildings to historical significance,” Mr. Clark said. “Our main focus right now is updating the buildings, modernizing some of the site — really kind of prepping and doing what we can to get ready for the 2021 season.”

Last month, LJS Properties LLC, Skaneateles, sold the 65-acre island, which includes a recreational vehicle park and marina, to Sun Association Island RV LLC, Southfield, Mich.

The principal of LJS Properties is Dr. Nak K. Shim, who has owned and operated the island and its RV park since 2002. Sun Association Island is an affiliate company of Sun Communities Inc., a real estate investment trust that operates manufactured home and RV communities nationwide.

Dr. Shim’s son, Dr. John H. Shim, announced the family sold the property Jan. 25. The younger Dr. Shim had been serving as the resort’s chief executive officer.

As for developing the surrounding area, meaning Snowshoe Island, which would be an expansion of the Association Island site, the idea is being explored for the future. While Association Island’s site is mainly home to RV spots, Mr. Clark said Snowshoe could become camping cabins or “glamping” — glamorous camping — spots in the future.

“We have a pretty good-sized RV park on Association Island with over 300 sites, and we have a few cottages and cabins there,” Mr. Clark said. “We might be looking at creating more of an option for people who maybe don’t have an RV and are just coming by car from the regional area that want to enjoy the beauty of the island.”

Mr. Clark said good things are coming to the local community and surrounding areas, but they will just take some time. He asked for patience while Sun Communities sees its plans through.

“The idea is that we can’t be successful without support of the community,” Mr. Broggio said. “It’s important for us to be active and involved, be active stewards everywhere that we serve.

“As we grow, our goal is to continue being an active and supportive member of the north country community,” he added.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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