Winter Texans Upset They Can’t Reserve RV Sites for Next Year

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SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – Winter Texans told CHANNEL 5 NEWS this may be their last trip to the Rio Grande Valley.

Some are upset at the changes happening at the Isla Blanca Park near South Padre Island.

Vanessa Volkaert said she and her husband Greg make the 3,000-mile trip from Ontario, Canada to Isla Blanca Park each fall season and stay until the end of winter.

Volkaert was upset Wednesday.

"I got the feeling they really don't care what they're doing to anybody, and I don't really think they understood the impact - what the long-term impact is going to be," Volkaert said. "They are giving up a six-month rental."

RV residents met with Isla Blanca Park officials on Wednesday. They informed them they will not be taking their reservations for next year due to the planned $13 million renovations that will start next year at the park.

On top of that when reservations start, it will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. This means if someone wants Volkaert's usual spot for several days during her usual six-month rental, they'll be able to take it if they book before her.

However, she'll have the option of booking her stay around those days if she chooses.

"I think what they need to do is open it up to the long-term first because that's going to be your money earner, you know, that's your guaranteed rental, your guaranteed income,” she said.

Volkaert said if she's forced to move her RV to accommodate another guest for several days during her winter stay, she might as well go elsewhere.

Stephen Walter from Indiana echoed that feeling.

"That site right there, I've had for four years, so I can always plan on coming back to that site," Walter said, "it's like home, this is our neighborhood here. And that's what upsets me the most. These are all friends of ours. We're going to lose our neighborhood."

Cameron County Parks Director Joe Vega said the plans for construction upgrades are moving fast. Construction of the multi-purpose center will begin soon, as well as the amphitheater.

He said the area where these RV guests are currently staying, could be under construction by this time next year. The county doesn't want to take their money if they can't promise them a place to stay.

Volkaert said it's already discouraging others from coming back.

Vega said the county now knows the construction of the new RV sites won't interrupt their summer rental season.

He said they will start taking reservations for those spots on January 15.

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