Jacksonville, Fla., is changing its open door policy for the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” according to the Jacksonville Daily Record.
As much as the teams involved, the recreational vehicle has become the symbol of the annual Florida/Georgia college football game. Each year the game is played surrounded by seemingly endless rows of the homes on wheels. The vehicle village has even acquired its own nickname: RV City.
For years, settling in RV City was a first-come, first-serve proposition. But starting in 2006, a lottery will determine who snags the coveted 150 city-owned spaces surrounding Alltel Stadium.
State officials have told Jacksonville to expect enforcement of regulations requiring showers and bathrooms to be provided at lots renting out spaces to five or more RVs. That could put some of the private lots out of the RV business, increasing demand for the city’s spaces, said Mike Sullivan, the director of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission’s sports and entertainment division.
“The state has mandated that we make certain adjustments as far as not operating like a campground as we’re required to do,” said Sullivan. “We don’t know whether the private sites will be hosting as many motorhomes if they have to supply bathrooms and showers.”
The added cost in the city lots will be paid for out of the $50 daily parking fee. That fee won’t go up this year, but Sullivan said it eventually could be raised if costs significantly increase.
The lottery system is designed to make sure the city’s parking is distributed fairly. Sullivan described the lottery system, which will take effect next year, as similar to the one used to distribute tickets for the NCAA basketball tournament.
“Basically everyone sends in their request by a certain date, and we’ll start picking names out of a Florida bucket and a Georgia bucket until all the spaces are filled,” he said.
Final approval for the switch to a lottery is still pending a meeting among the city, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the JEDC and SMG, the sports complex manager. But Sullivan said he was “99 percent” certain of the change.