Videos-What of the $10,000 One Page RV Park Plan for Oakdale Park Presented by Bud Surls? (Glen Rose)Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

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Videos-What of the $10,000 One Page RV Park Plan for Oakdale Park Presented by Bud Surls? (Glen Rose)

28 April 2010 at 11:08:28 AM

When I first started hearing about how Oakdale Park was a project that would be purchased through 4-b monies by the city, I was under the impression that only a few RV spots would be there, that the RVs would be day use only, and the prices would be higher than other parks in the area to encourage people to STAY at the other private RV parks that are trying to make a living. I was pretty thrilled to hear about the Design Committee for Oakdale, which actually sent out a survey asking for people'sopinions about what might be put in the park, what activities,etc. But the Design Committee never presented before City Council or 4-B, and I heard Billy Huckaby say on numerous occasions that people just quit coming, lost interest, and the city (who?) put doing Oakdale Park on his shoulders. At some point, I don't know when, maybe after the additional property was purchased from Ken Prykryl, the idea changed that Oakdale Park would be an RV park, and which would accommodate very very large RVs.

And asking also why the heck the Preservation Board has not been intricately involved in any planning, instead of apparently being an afterthought? Karen Richardson got approval from  City Council recently for money to get help writing a grant (from Mary Salterelli)  to get on the National Registry. (Video here)  Isn't this going to put the whole historic nature of Oakdale into possible jeopardy if it's remodeled to be a *state of the art* RV park instead of the charming retro park it is now? "Does Glen Rose KNOW the treasure they have?"-Dr Baker.

It's one thing to sort of think about how you believe a city park, for citizens, will look, and quite another to see a one page plan, jimmied up for $10,000 plus travel expenses, (LINK TO THE PLAN AT LEFT) and here's link to the contract that has over 100 RV spaces and will require quite a bit of taking out the *park* elements that make Oakdale so pleasant. I've got some video of the presentaiton, will put it in 2 posts, second part will be questions from the council or the audience.

Besides the money, how is this being an RV park going to benefit the city? The people who have these honking expensive RVs that are self-contained are not going to walk downtown but stay IN THE PARK. Hello! Restaurants! Shopping!

Maybe a long time ago before there were a lot of hotels, bed and breakfast, Dinosaur Valley State Park, etc, it made sense to have an RV park that would bring people in to Glen Rose. Plus, of course, Oakdale Park was a PRIVATE BUSINESS- who says that changes MUST be repurposed to be like a latter day Tres Rios downtown? I have to believe that there are other creative ways to bring people to Oakdale Park for events while letting them stay in RV parks that are ALREADY DESIGNED FOR THIS. For example, perhaps the RV park owners could arrange a shuttle to take people back and forth to events, or maybe there's an opportunity for our local taxi service to make a buck.

Was this ALWAYS supposed to be a new state of the art RV park for GIGANTIC RVs representing the rich instead of a park for citizens to enjoy as well? I don't know. But it sure seems like the idea of having a wonderful city park that those who LIVE HERE can enjoy as well as tourists, while still providing business for the community is being hijacked. I don't believe the city shoudl be in the business of being of being in competition with private enterprise. Don't think it about the county and the expo and don't think it about the city. IF an event says, well, we REQUIRE That you have X amount of RV spaces on site, then maybe there ought to be different events held there instead of trying to change the park to fit the event.

Here's a link to an article in The Glen Rose Reporter that talks about this.

Billy Huckaby introduces Bud Surles. Rough Transcript. As ya'll recall we hired him several months back to look at Oakdale park and make suggestions and make a plan City had been criticized in the communtiy for not going through a planning process and we really think we did go through that process.

(Yes. Like this from Mitchell George in early April)

Huckaby: And Mr Surles has an extensive background with NPS for 20 plus years. He was head of the Arkansas Park Service.... I was really excited when we got him to come here, he's made mulitiple trips to Oakdale Park, extensive experience in designing RV parks. What you're going to see tonight is not necessarily something we're presenting that says This is The Plan, approve or disapprove, this is merely a plan that he put together that is going to be a work in progress, I'm sure there will be parts of it that you may not agree with or parts you might want to expand on. What you're going to see here tonight is not necessarily the Final Final Oakdalle Park sage.

Bud Surles introduction-he's from Cisco and likes historic parks

Bud Surles Part 1. Thanks for me being here... What I am bringing to this is over 30 years of experience in planning and designing and operating parks and resort facilities. We have just completed a park in Texas called Mill Creek Ranch Resort. ,, what I bring to this is not only experience in planning and designing but have had the chance to run what I designed... One of the things that you have to deal with when you're dealing with RV parks is the mobility of the RVS which are getitng larger and larger and larger and the experience of the drivers which is becoming less and less and less...they buy a 500,000 motorcoach that's 40 feet long... what you try to do is accomodate a lot of the inexperienced travellers with these really gigantic rigs. What we found at Oakdale, particularly with property on east side, reduce the number of RV sites but greatly enhance the quality... state of the art RV facilities, pull through 80 feet long x30 feet wide on right angle, there are ample space and ease of mobility as you travel through.... The number one issue in their minds is security so you have a lot of big rigs thatyou need to get in and out of a project and you've got to do it in such a way that you minimize the amount of external traffic that moves through the park. In other words, you have to be able to shut it down in the eveniing so they have some sense of security.

Gigantic RVs. No doubt this will require a lot of altering the historic property at Oakdale and perhaps lessen the ability to get preservation grants or for Oakdale Park to be listed on the Historic Register.  Also imagine these GIGANTIC RVS going one way to get out on Barnard Street on that curve. What about citizens that live in the City or the County and THEIR security? Seems like tourist trade is what's primo in this one, not what the citizens want, or else why the heck wasn't any of this considered with at least a hat tip to the Design or Preservation Committee? Watch for the post from the council and the community that bring up related items in this on an upcoming post, like, how come there aren't more green spaces and less parking lots, where are the spots for our children, coudln't we get small retro RVs in if there are going to be some instead of altering the park? Incidentally, Mr Surls didn't mention it but it is his brother who is selling the Park Model Cabins Which are Really RVs.

Part 2 Rough Transcript; In this particular design the existing entrance to the park I have kept as the main entrance and all the traffice would flow to the east side of the pool, main part of the RV park on east side on new property which would be primarily pull-throughs but the traffic flow would be such that always the back end sites that are around the permiter are over the left hand shoulder of the driver because he's got to be able to pull in to what he can see. .. did compromise asking Billy if he thought it would be okay if I put one one-way exit out of the park and that way he didn't have to pave the whole thing ... there's a one way exit out between the existing park and the new land area development. Primariliy what I focused on was the circulation and movement of RVs but with some recommendations for the facilities. Right now the cutting edge in the outdoor hospitality industry is the Park Model Cottage... An RV is very very expensive. .. eliminates all about 10 percent of the population being able to go in and enjoy a park, so what has happened the park model cottage is technically an RV, pulled in on wheels and it's skirted... under 400 square feet but it provides for family kinds of accomodations that lets all families come and enjoy a park area. I recommended besides the remodeling going on in existing cottages, recommdneded 6 more cottages along the boundary between those two existing parks (new Park Model Cottages). Old white cottages pulling that all together where the woodcarving shop is and making a craft mall and food court. The reason that I made that recommendation is simply that one of the major areas of economic development that I've found over the years is being able to get craftsmen and musicians involved in a park area. Huge magnet.... don't necessaril have to be craft shops but places where people can come in and watch.. gives craftsmen the opporutnity to teach what they love... Added a lot of parking to take care of the conference center, playground area, generally just to enable more people to be able to visit the park without disrupting the flow of the park. Designed for security, easily mobility of the larger rigs and designed to enable all people to come and enjoy the park project.

Update: More video from Bud Surles Presentation.

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1 - humanbeing   28 Apr 2010 @ 9:40:49 PM 

This is nuts. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Searles but Oakdale Park has been hosting music and wood carving events for at least the 26 years I've lived here. All this focus on accomodating huge RV's is also ridiculous. Carving away Oakdale by removing more trees and green space in order to add more pavement for huge RV's that don't really bring much money into the community is a misguided idea. Are any of you old enough to remember the old travel lodges of the late 40's and 50's? That's what Oakdale is. Let the private RV park owners accomodate these people. Oakdale belongs to the citizens of Somervell County, not just 10% of the rest of the population. People already want to come to Oakdale because of what it is. Save it, don't discard it.

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2 - Sharra   29 Apr 2010 @ 4:11:02 PM 

I am disappointed to say the least.  I took the time to fill out one of those surveys, apparently the ONLY person listening to what the people of Somervell County WANT would be the ONE person that sent out the survey.  I even posted it on my facebook page for others to read and fill out if they so desired.  Oakdale is an EPIC part of MY own history.  It's part of the earliest and best childhood memories that I have.  When I was first approached with the "remodeling" of Oakdale, my first thought was that it wouldn't be for the community.  I don't know Billy Huckaby, but I do know this, the person that sent me the survey would've NEVER let anything fall on one man's shoulders and certainly not a man that, in my personal oppinion, has no business being a part of this plan as it appears to me that it is most certainly a conflict of interest.  I've lived in Glen Rose for over 35 years (and according to some - I'm still a "newby"), but it's home.  Here is what I have noticed.  People come here, they love the quaintness of the town and they decide to move here.  Then the FIRST thing they do - is try to CHANGE IT.  Of course, there is room for improvement in ANY town, but how many trees do we tear down, how much grass do we cover with concrete and how many different school campuses do we have to build before we turn the natural beauty that is Glen Rose in to nothing but a memory.   The river walk - a good idea.  Girl's Night Out - a good idea.  Having quaint shops and great restaraunts downtown was the best.  Now many have closed, or moved to the highway.  This would be an opportunity to give something back to the people that live here.  A place where we could go and spend time (and money) and enjoy the still natural beauty that is Glen Rose, but the City, it appears to this country girl is pushing the side of greed and how much money IT can make. 

 I am one voice, but I do not think that I am alone when I say FIX IT, BEAUTIFY IT, BUT do NOT RUIN IT.  Make it a place where Somervell County residents can STILL go and enjoy and visitors staying at OTHER places want to come and visit and enjoy (and spend a little money) and let them spend their lodging money at Dinosaur Valley State Park, Tres Rios, Buck's or even stay at the Glen Rose Hotel or Inn on the River... PICK ONE, there are still plenty and these folks work HARD to make their money.  They don't have grants, they don't have city or county TAX DOLLARS buying their land or paying their way, they rely on our visitors to make their ends meet.  Downtown is already faltering with numerous businesses closing do we have to destroy EVERYONE's potential to make money?  I hope not.

3 - humanbeing   29 Apr 2010 @ 10:05:11 PM 

What Sharra is talking about is what I call the 'Myth of More'...why change a winning game (Oakdale)? Why spend a miilion dollars for RV owners whose RV's are so large, they can't drive them properly? Restore, revamp, refurbish and recondition Oakdale, don't turn it into something everybody else has. Like Dr. Baker said, there are a lot of cities out there who would gladly trade their convention centers for what we have here.

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4 - salon   30 Apr 2010 @ 8:50:15 AM 

@Sharra. So with you.Economic development ought to be for the city businesses and not for a business run BY the city.

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5 - Sharra   30 Apr 2010 @ 2:58:28 PM 

EXACTLY right.  More does NOT always mean better.  @salon - is there a reason no one has stood up and said anything about this????  Or that it indeed appears to be a conflict of interest?

6 - salon   30 Apr 2010 @ 5:12:06 PM 

@Sharra-Some stood up in the meeting, with items such as gigantic RVs versus scale or preserving the park versus having to take down trees and change the park AND POSSIBLY LOSE HISTORICAL STATUS. I didn't hear anyone talk about conflict of interest. I don't know why. I have seen at least 2 RV park owners come to meetings. Here's what I think. I think that the Design Committee should have presented their findings publicly at the 4-b board. As near as I can tell, the board was never formally disbanded, and I think at least one of the members was told that they weren't going to work on it till January 2010. There was no public airing of this, Managing the project somehow feel onto Billy Huckaby's lap, according to him because people lost interest and quit attending. At the January 2010 walkthrough, he had taken change by this point and brought up not only buying RV style cabins but contracting with the cabin seller's brother to do a plan. Part of this is because people were complaining at this point that work was going on at Oakdale without a plan of what it would be.And at no point since then was the citizenry asked for input. I also think because there was so much questioning of this plan that the city realized it and said they are going to have citizen's input into it now.

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7 - Sharra   5 May 2010 @ 2:41:16 PM 

I so hope you are right.  I have asked the only member that I know that was on the committee to please start a petition.  I sincerely hope that she does it, I almost feel that she is really the only voice that many of us have.  I think a petition would also show that as a committee member, who never walked away from the project, she has the backing of MANY in our County.  I have no idea how to start a petition!  I hope she does!

8 - trenathetreehugger   5 May 2010 @ 4:12:16 PM 

sooooooooooo.... the city interested in my survey, NOW???????????????????????????

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9 - salon   5 May 2010 @ 4:22:16 PM 

@trena-I think it's more that there are some citizens who are wondering WHAT THE FOOL HAPPENED to that design survey. We were told the other day that the Design Committee issued a report on its findings. I have asked for a copy of the report but even the existence of such a report seems to contradict what has been said for the past few months, ie, that the Design Committee never presented its findings and that Billy Huckaby, by some kind of osmosis took over the committee because people stopped coming or lost interest.

Incidentally, I found two tapes of the Design Committee meetings on Sept 10 and Sep 17 2009, have done rough transcript of part of one-the audio is here.

And I agree with Sharra that I think you, especially, as a member of the Design Committee, would be excellent to jump back into this and get a petition going or organize a meeting or notification to city council, etc. Obviously I have my own opinion about what I thought Oakdale Park would be like and it is NOT a state of the art RV Park for gigantic RVs that takes out green spaces in order to put in parking lots. (Joni Mitchell suddenly came into my mind with "They paved paradise....".)  Everyone doesn't have to agree with me, but it seems like it's become the opinion of ONE PERSON who is driving this and trying to rush it through instead of making sure what citizens want.

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10 - trenathetreehugger   5 May 2010 @ 9:27:15 PM 

well... I have believed from day one that the city never wanted to make this a city park, they wanted to make money from it.  and i will be looking into a petition or meeting or something...

ONE OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES "We have awakened a sleeping giant and have instilled in him a terrible resolve".

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11 - humanbeing   6 May 2010 @ 8:11:41 AM 

The city can make money from it and must. However, they can do this while preserving its character and responding to the needs of the community, if they chose.

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12 - Sharra   6 May 2010 @ 6:05:14 PM 

@humanbeing - but I wonder if they will?  Have we become so caught up in the dollars that we have forgotten that Oakdale is a historic part of Glen Rose.  Pick a kid - ANY kid - that has lived her their entire life and find me ONE that never swam at Oakdale Park.  I'd like to meet them.  I'm all for the City making a buck to maintain the park and pay it's expenses and taxes, HOWEVER, I am not out for them making a profit that might also destroy other hard-working folks businesses within Somervell County.  I don't know why we are looking for a "state of the art super RV park" in the first place?  I don't think there is a soul in Glen Rose that wants that.  If there is one, I'd sure like to know their name so I can find out why? 

Trena, whatever assistance you need, all you have to do is call.  I'd also like to see you run for City Council.  At least then there would be more than one person looking out for the natural beauty of GR.

13 - humanbeing   6 May 2010 @ 8:21:27 PM 

The city doesn't seem to realize that destroying the character of Oakdale would be destroying their most valuable asset. This isn't some dark plot, it's incompetence. They just don't understand what makes Oakdale Park so special. I can't think of any more important reason to preserve Oakdale than for the dollars it could produce. Why have people been coming here for years? Because they find something here they can't find elsewhere. Like Dr. Baker (the historian) said, there are many cities out there that would gladly exchange their convention centers for what we have here. Wake up, council!

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