According to Piper Price with the Friends of Jolly Mill, the recreation area next to the 1850s mill now has an Iron Ranger near the entrance with donation cards and instructions on supporting the park. Users are asked to make a donation in a sealed envelope of $5 to use the park for a day, tearing off a tag and displaying it on the dashboard while at the park. Buses are asked to make a $30-a-day donation.
In the face of higher gas prices, support for the park was dwindling, Price said. There were problems with some people dumping trash and some of those visiting the park leaving a bad impression.
Since the fee island went in place, the situation has dramatically changed. Price said security problems have cleared up, and donations have helped considerably with maintenance. A similar system is in place at Stockton Lake.
Friends of Jolly Mill do not need to make a donation to use the park. Instructions are available for how to join the organization.
Signage also directs visitors interested in scheduling events or weddings to contact park coordinator Margie McCormick at 417-440-0054.
Price said very few negative comments on the new system have been received. Most people understand the park receives all of its support from Friends of Jolly Mill members or donations, she said. No funds are received from the government or the Department of Conservation.
The Jolly Mill board welcomes feedback on the park and the changes that have taken place. Jolly Mill is located approximately 10 miles west of Monett. To get there, turn south on Farm Road 1010, west of the Monett Municipal Airport, for three miles, and then turn west on Farm Road 2025 for one mile to the park entrance.