Private RV park owner Danny Chambers told Somervell County commissioners on Monday that he’s worried about losing potential business under a proposal to expand RV sites around the Somervell County Expo Center to handle large events such as horse shows.
“It appears that the county will soon control the operation of 70 more RV sites at and around the Expo Center,” Chambers told commissioners at their Monday meeting. “If and when this happens, I would like someone on the court to advise the person or persons responsible for booking these RV sites to ask if they will be participating or attending the event.”
Chambers also asked whether prospective RV rental customers would be steered toward the Glen Rose Convention & Visitors Bureau website where many private RV parks are listed “so at least they have a choice and we have a chance to make a booking.”
Mike Dooley, the Expo Center’s director, and Billy Huckaby, the CVB’s executive director, have cited the need for more RV spaces to be able even to bid on such large shows. One proposal is to put 30 RV sites on the eastern side of the Water Treatment Plant, a city “buffer zone,” as well as RV sites between the plant and the Expo and more RV hookups at the current RV site behind the Expo, as well as temporary sites at a soccer park.The City Council has not approved the proposal yet.
“These folks have in the past and will in the future stay at other RV parks in close proximity to the Expo Center,” Chambers added.
Commissioner James Barnard reiterated that the court approved the concept of the RV expansion, but that all the details haven’t been worked out.
County Judge Walter Maynard reassured Chambers that “we would like to involve private businesses in this if we could.”
“I’m not opposed to more business in Glen Rose,” Chambers responded. “We need the traffic. I’m just opposed to how the situation is going.”
Maynard said it’s possible private citizens could take a 10-year lease on county property to install more RV sites.
“We’re just looking at ways private citizens could get in on it,” Commissioner Lloyd Wirt told Chambers.
Two other private RV park owners, Pennie and Rob Robinson of Poco’s Park located east of town near the golf course, attended the meeting but did not speak, as did Mayor Pam Miller. After the meeting, Pennie Robinson said she also was concerned about the proposals under discussion. Poco’s Park rents RV spaces by the day, week or month.
The issue also came up at the Glen Rose City Council meeting Monday evening. Huckaby again stressed that the city can’t even bid on some of the larger shows without being able to offer more RV sites.
Large amounts of tourist dollars are at stake. The economic impact to San Angelo when it hosted the American Junior Rodeo Association show, for example, was $750,000 to $1.5 million, Huckaby said.
If the expansion plans move forward, ground could be broken on the RV sites by the first of May, which would provide enough time to get them ready in time for the show in mid-July, Huckaby added.
The council decided to wait and see what action the County Commissioners Court takes before making a final decision on how to proceed with the expansion.