Oklahoma Facility Prepares to Host RV Rallies

April 22, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Heart of Oklahoma facility, site of several RV rallies this year.

Heart of Oklahoma facility in Shawnee, Okla., site of several RV rallies this year.

Recreation vehicles currently fill the parking lot of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center in Shawnee, Okla.

Expo operations manager Michael Jackson expects more than $19,000 in lot rental fees from hosting the Good Sam Club RV rally this week. The center also will host a Fleetwood RV owners rally this summer.

Meanwhile, board members for the Expo Center are discussing repairs and upgrades to the parking lot, the Shawnee News Star reported.

“It would be nice for the parking lot to be fixed and the amenities upgraded,” Charlie Belew, RV owner from Wichita, Kan. said. “We come to several rallies here every year.”

Community Development and Planning Director Justin Erickson and City Engineer John Krywicki presented three landscaping options for board members to discuss.

Krywicki said the parking lot at the Expo Center would cost $1 million to resurface.

  • The first option, including extensive landscaping to the entire parking lot and a grand entrance to the show barn complete with a decorative statue, would increase the cost to $1.4 million. “Just to replace the existing lot with no frills will cost $968,000,” Krywicki said. “I would not recommend just overlaying the properties.”
  • The second option would landscape the parking lot south of the convention center and would increase the cost to $1.18 million.
  • The third option would landscape the lot east of the convention center.

“After meeting with city commissioners we felt that the first option would hinder the functionality of the area,” Erickson said.Shawnee logo

Kyrwicki said the landscaped areas would create natural buffer zones throughout the parking lot and would reduce the overall cost by reducing the amount of asphalt needed for the project.

The Expo Center parking lot was listed as the first priority in the capital improvement projects developed by city staff and commissioners.

“It’s amazing to be here and to see how many RVs are here,” City manager and board member, Brian McDougal said. “This is what I call economic development. We are currently working on a study to see how these conventions directly help our community.”

McDougal said the Good Sams rally attracted 300 RVs, with the larger rallies attracting more than 900 RVs.

“These are people eating in our restaurants and shopping at our stores,” McDougal said. “We have to be thinking about this facility over the next 20 to 30 years. Some of these plans would only add 20% to the maintenance cost to beautify the property. This can be done in phases and will bring people into the city.”

Jackson said the Expo received $45,000 from lot rental fees during the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) rally, that is scheduled to return to Shawnee in 2012.

“This facility adds to our overall economic development,” McDougal said. “We want a facility that everyone will want to come back to. We have that now, anything we do will only improve the facility.”

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