Camping experience comes in handy these days for Dave and Elaine Matney.
Dave, a senior engineer with Petrohawk Energy Corp., and his wife have lived in the Lazy Longhorn RV Park in Victoria, Texas, since June. “We’re experienced campers, so this is basically an expansion of that,” said Dave.
According to a report by the Victoria Advocate, the Matneys are among those drawn to the area by the oil and gas activity who have set up residence in RV parks. New RV parks have popped up in and around Victoria, dotting the landscape with residential accommodations for those working the Eagle Ford Shale.
From larger commercial enterprises to landowners with a couple of spare acres, RV parks are the domicile of choice for thousands of new-to-the-area residents.
In Yorktown, at least four privately owned RV parks have opened outside the city limits, including two owned by local businessman Pete Dlugosch.
Jim Reidel, owner of the 70-space Paradise Key RV Park on state Highway 72 in Cuero, said opening his park about eight months ago was simply a matter of being observant.
“I just saw what was happening between Karnes City and Cuero – the need for more places to accommodate these workers – and decided to put something in,” he said. “Cuero is very accommodating, very pro-business.”
Reidel said nearly all of his tenants are oil and gas industry workers, with about 80% pipeliners.
Cuero city manager Raymie Zella said the growth is proving beneficial for the city. Prior to the oil and gas boon, Cuero had two RV parks with about 50 spaces between them, Zella said.
“There have been three new ones and one of the original has added on, so there are approximately 300 new spaces between those,” said the city manager. “One just outside the city limits has about 25 spaces and there is another one under construction with 60 something spaces. Nearly 400 RV spaces have been added or are under construction.”
In 2011, the Cuero City Council passed an RV park ordinance, regulating the size of a park, trailer size and parking among other requirements. Zella said the growth of RV parks has increased the city’s utility revenues.
“We treat the RV park as one commercial customer,” he said. “They pay us for all of the electric, water and wastewater as any commercial customer in Cuero would.”
In Victoria, the city-owned RV park at Riverside Park, brought in more than $21,000 in revenue during the 2010-11 budget year, an increase of more than $7,000 from the previous year, according to figures provided by the Parks and Recreation Department. The 18-space park has already brought in more than $9,000 since Oct. 1.
At the Dec. 20 city council meeting, Councilman Joe Truman hinted at expanding the park observing, “there appears to be room to do more.”