Over the opposition of some residents, officials in Bayou La Batre, Ala., plan to apply for $300,000 in federal grant money to turn an undeveloped portion of a park into a RV campground, according to the Mobile (Ala.) Register.
A small group of residents of the Gulf Coast community oppose the RV park plan, arguing that Rolston Park should be used exclusively by local residents. They say the cost of maintaining the proposed improvements will become a burden on bayou residents.
The rest of the park previously was upgraded using a $650,000 federal grant to build a lighted walking track, restrooms, pavilions and a playground.
Mayor Stan Wright said the RV campground is intended to attract tourism to Bayou La Batre, and he predicted the RV spaces, at $250 per month, would bring in more than $200,000 a year in revenue to the city.
Critics said Wright’s predictions are very optimistic, considering that Bayou La Batre isn’t exactly an established tourist destination.
“There are no amenities here in Bayou La Batre to attract snowbirds and other tourists,” Fuller said.
The 20 acres that eventually became Rolston Park were deeded to the city in 1959 by Rolston Realty, owned by John Rolston.
The deed required that the city maintain the property as a public park for the use of local residents. Should the city neglect this requirement, the deed would revert to the Government Street Presbyterian Church of Mobile.
Wright said his intention was that Rolston Park always be a community park.
“The front 10 acres will be open to the public like they always have been. The RV park is going to be on the back 10 acres, which have never been developed for anything,” Wright said. “When I was a kid, that area always had a couple goats or other livestock running around in it. Do we want to go back to that?”