Debbie Borer is not a happy camper.
Borer, 51, from Buffalo, N.Y., is a volunteer at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. She spent the past 13 days at The Village at Midway Station, a temporary RV park in Woodford County, Ky., that provides housing during the games, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
Travel trailers from Illinois and Tennessee were towed to the site for visitors to rent, but Borer has found the accommodations to be less than satisfactory.
As the temperature on Monday night (Oct. 4) dipped into the 40s, Borer sat in a tent that serves as a dining hall for park guests. Borer said that she didn’t have hot water in her trailer for three days, although the problem was eventually fixed.
“I’m sitting here because I haven’t had heat for the last few hours in my trailer,” she said. “I came out here because it’s warmer out here than it is inside.”
In addition, she said, there have been problems with a drop-off laundry service (her laundry was returned the next day, not the same day), and with shuttle service that takes her to the Kentucky Horse Park (changes were made in drop-off points, including one that added a 20-minute walk to her work station).
“Every day I call my husband and I tell him what today’s problem was, and we discuss what could be tomorrow’s problem,” Borer said.
Other guests at the RV park alluded to inconveniences but did not want to be identified. However, Katie Weitzel, another volunteer at the games, who visited Midway Station, told of similar problems.
Weitzel said foreign visitors staying at Midway Station “were telling me they didn’t have hot water. … There was a guy from New Zealand who was really upset about the shuttle system. These were people from different countries, and they don’t know who to go to or what to do.”
In interviews this week, Thomas Hosea, site manager for The Village at Midway Station, acknowledged that there have been complaints from guests about shuttles, not enough hot water, or not enough water, period.
“But the folks that were complaining were folks who had no idea how to use a camper,” Hosea said.
(For her part, Borer said she had “never been in a trailer before,” so she didn’t know what to expect.)
Hosea explained that trailers at the park typically have a 25-gallon fresh water tank and a 6-gallon hot water heater (typical house water heaters have capacities of 40 to 65 gallons).
“You can’t get in there and take big, long showers,” Hosea said. “When you shower in a camper, you turn the water on, you wet down, you turn the water off, you soap up, and then you turn the water back on.”
More liberal use of water means the tanks will run dry more quickly and must be refilled, which is done daily at the park. Propane tanks for heating are kept on site to replace those that are emptied, Hosea said.
Hosea said the terms of the laundry service were changed by the vendor because the park was “not producing enough laundry for them to come twice a day.” Hosea and his transportation director, former Urban County Council member Al Mitchell, said the changes in the shuttle drop-off points at the horse park were made by someone there, but neither was certain who that individual is.
Amy Walker, a spokeswoman for the games, said an approved drop-off point “was clearly communicated” to the RV park “well in advance of the games.” But since the games began, the RV park’s shuttle service “has chosen in multiple ways to circumvent the shuttle opportunity that was put in place.”
If RV park patrons are upset, Walker said, that’s because the park’s shuttle service “chose to circumvent the system.”
Complaints have decreased since the RV park opened, said John Johnson, executive vice president of Short’s Travel Management, the official housing bureau for the World Equestrian Games.
Not all guests are unhappy with Midway Station. Maryann Smith of Salem, Conn., said last week that she and her friend, Lory Walsh of North Kingstown, R.I., “had a wonderful experience at this campground.”
Of the four guest packages advertised by Midway Station, most of the 200 visitors there reserved the least expensive, called the Bluegrass, for $175 a day.
No one reserved the “uber-VIP treatment” of the Secretariat package, which included therapeutic massages, a personal driver to take guests “wherever you wish,” and a personal chef. Price: $2,300 a day.
Click here to watch WTVQ-TV’s telecast of the following story.
Right now there are only about 15 RVs on the makeshift campground near Lexington, Ky., but by next Friday (Sept. 24), with the start of the World Equestrian Games (WEG), 200 RVs will be on this property, WTVQ-TV, Lexington, reported.
“The people that are coming here are basically campers at heart and they like being outside and it just adds to the whole deal for ’em,” says Thomas Hosea.
Thomas Hosea is the man in charge of designing the lay out where each one of these RV’s will be placed. He’s say’s the area where the rvs are now, which sits right off I-64, actually was intended to be an overflow area, in case WEG officials ran out of housing.
“The game plan is sorta like the circus coming into town; ya know, you see something going on over there; you’re not really sure what it is; then all in about four days, it’s like wow, look what happened,” admits Hosea.
Hosea says the cheapest RV runs $140 a night, while the most expensive is at $850.
“We have about forty volunteers or a combination of volunteers and stewards that are actually working the world equestrian games and everybody else is just horse lovers and people that love to camp,” explains Hosea.
Not only will this open space be filled with RVs over the next few weeks, but WEG officals say a store, a bar and a hospitality area will keep the visitors busy with many things to do.
“Those guys get chaffeured treatment, they get the top dog, the nice units, we really take care of ’em,” says Hosea.
On Tuesday, the campground sponsors took a reservation for an RV site from a person who lives in Africa, who plans on being here in Lexington for the World Equestrian Games.