A city-owned Kampgrounds of America (KOA) franchise in Texas may be going up for sale, according to a report in the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
Rusk, Texas, purchased a KOA franchise two years ago and had set aside land for the campground. But city officials are now looking at selling.
Tuesday (June 14), the city council voted to forgo the enhancements necessary to have the campground endorsed as a KOA franchise site, instead opting to make minimal improvements so the land can be sold.
However, because the campground is owned by the city, it can’t be sold until it passes by a consent vote from Rusk citizens. A date for the vote has not been set.
Under the KOA contract, Rusk will have to pay 10% of what the profit would have been, even if the campgrounds don’t open under the KOA name, City Manager Kevin Bowden said.
The city has already spent almost $600,000 on the project, including the $33,000 franchise fee, but the site cannot be listed as an official KOA campground unless it meets certain requirements, Bowden said.
“We have to do something pretty quick,” he said. “But there’s no way we can get the campgrounds up to standard and sell it fast enough to get out of the contract.”
An additional $200,000 to $400,000 would have been needed to install air conditioning in the cabins, build a playground, comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and meet KOA aesthetic requirements, Bowden said.
Instead, a bulldozer bought by the city will be sold, allowing for $50,000 in improvements to be made.
City councilman Don Jones said guesses about how much revenue the park could generate were too much of a gamble to invest any more taxpayer money in the project.
“We don’t know anything about the park, except how much money we’ve spent on it,” he said. “Taxpayers don’t want this to haunt them.”
The city council’s decision disappointed some citizens, who had hoped the KOA campground could bring revenue to the city.
“It’s a shame this has met so much resistance,” said Collie Hagan, who served on the task force formed to evaluate the issue. “We’re missing it. This is a great opportunity for the city to make some money.”