City Council approves bid for Oakdale Park

Staff Writer
Glen Rose Reporter
The Glen Rose City Council voted Monday evening to accept the highest bid for the sale of Oakdale Park, which was submitted by a Hico couple.

The process of selling Oakdale Park is almost 100% complete.

The Glen Rose City Council came out of an executive session at the end of its Monday evening meeting and voted to accept the top bid for the park, from a Hico couple who plan to live there once the final contract is signed.

Philip Vasquez and his wife, Luci Digiorgio, who own Off the Vine RV Park in Hico, submitted a bid of $1,500,050. That was the largest among the three submitted. The sealed bids were opened on July 30.

The second-highest bid was only $50 less, at $1,500,000, from Thomas Carroll, who owns an RV park in Keene. The other bid, for $1,050,000, was submitted by Glen Rose’s Country Woods Inn owner Helen Kerwin and her daughters.

Council members Julia Douglas, Jack Johnson, Johnny Martin and Richard Vaughn voted to accept the bid from the Hico couple. The only “no” vote was cast by Chris Bryant.

Glen Rose City Administrator Michael Leamons said Tuesday that Vasquez and Digiorgio will have up to 90 days for a “due diligence” period to do their final inspection of the property before wrapping up the deal and signing on the dotted line.

Mayor Pam Miller indicated that she thinks the sale of the park will be a positive change for the city in the long run as well as for the historic park itself.

“I think it’s really going to be good,” Miller said. “I think they (the buyers) are interested in preserving the history, and that pleases me. They are wanting to bring events (to the park). I think it will be a good match. I think they will be an asset to Glen Rose. All three of (the bidders) would have been an asset in their own way.”

Miller said that the Hico couple indicated that they will keep the popular Oakdale Park swimming pool — known as The Plunge — open to the public, just as it has been.

Previously, Leamons stated that Oakdale Park had been “an ongoing private sector concern since 1925” until the city of Glen Rose purchased it in 2009. The city obtained an appraisal of the park’s value at “an even $1 million” in 2004, Leamons noted.

Digiorgio told the Glen Rose Reporter after the vote that they are thrilled to have their bid approved, and soon will be moving their place of residence to one of the larger cabins at Oakdale Park from their current home in Hamilton County. She has been a real estate agent for 20 years, but said she will be devoting her focus to Oakdale. Her husband is an attorney. They had been living in the Fort Worth area before moving to Hico in 2006.

“We love the history of the RV park,” Digiorgio said in a previous interview, prior to the vote. “We really wanted to preserve the park. We just love Glen Rose — we love the history of it. We’re big history buffs. In Hico, we’ve been active in restoring some historic buildings.”

Digiorgio said Wednesday, “We have some wonderful plans to improve (Oakdale),” noting that they will be preparing for the park’s 100th anniversary — which will be in 2025.

“So we’re excited,” she said. “Philip found out that the park is older than the incorporated city (Glen Rose). We are students of history.”

Digiorgio emphasized more than once that they are aware of the fact that Oakdale Park is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.

The park includes a convention center building, which has a hard-wood floor that used to be a roller rink and dance hall back in the day.

“It was a dance hall when it was first opened,” Digiorgio said. “Later, it was a roller rink.”

The Hico couple also has plans to promote RV camping in general, especially since they have had a love for that world for years. She said that they got married in a vintage Airstream camper, and are hoping to get approval to bring a vintage Airstream club to Oakdale for its annual international rally as part of Oakdale’s 100th anniversary celebration.

Although Digiorgio said they would love it if they were able to close the contract and sign “tomorrow,” she said it won’t be quite that soon.

“We hope to take possession (of Oakdale) in October,” she said.

The winning bidder for the purchase of Oakdale Park, a couple from Hico, have indicated they will keep the popular swimming pool, named The Plunge, open to the public just as it is now.