Texas Shale Industry Sparks up RV Park Boom
In his younger years, Bruce Sugarek was a welder in the oil fields in South Texas. At 82, he is now retired – well sort of, the Bee County Bee-Picayune reported.
“I am more tired than retired,” he said chuckling.
He is among the numerous other residents now providing housing for the workers of the Eagle Ford Shale industry. Throughout this area, small RV parks have popped up in once vacant lots.
In Saturday’s Bee-Picayune, five companies listed RV parks with open spots in the area. County Judge David Silva said he has seen these parks sprouting up throughout the county.
“You can’t drive between Beeville and anywhere that you won’t see RV parks and signs,” Silva said. “Some people have them next to their houses and some of them don’t. Everybody seems to be getting in on the action.”
Ron Fritz, with the county’s community affairs department, said that since January, 14 new RV parks have been built. This is up from, well, zero during the past few years.
“This is something new to Bee County,” Fritz said. “These things are popping up like mushrooms because of the people working in the Eagle Ford Shale kingdom.”
The county first began seeing the influx of people at the first of the year when the Eagle Ford drilling kicked into gear.
“The whole problem was the lack of housing in our area,” Fritz said. “Guys were staying all over and driving over here to work in the field.”
For some, the opportunity to cash in on the need for housing was too tempting to pass up. Bruce Munoz opened his RV park off U.S. Highway 59 only a few months ago and it’s already full.
“I have people still calling me,” he said. “I don’t have any more spaces open.”
That could change though.
“That is why I am thinking about in the future making it bigger,” he said. “But that is in the future.”
All of his residents are oil field workers but he hopes that when the boom subsides, he will be able to continue operating the park — just with a different clientele.