RV Visitors at Isla Blanca Park Don’t Mind Rate Increases

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ISLA BLANCA – Sylvia and Charlie Simmonds leave Canada at the first sign of snow each year and make their way to South Padre Island to claim an RV spot at Isla Blanca Park.

"You've got the Gulf here, you can open up your back window and you can see the water every day, and the butterflies and dragonflies," Sylvia Simmonds said, "it's a piece of paradise."

The spot they love so much is about to get a little more expensive. 

"We pay $650 right now," Simmonds said.

Cameron County Parks Director Joe Vega told CHANNEL 5 NEWS, county commissioners last week approved a 25 to 30 percent rental rate increase.

There hasn't been a price hike since 2010, he added.

The added revenue, Vega said, will help pay for about $13 million in park improvements.

The Simmonds will have to pay at least $100 more if they want their piece of paradise next year.

They said they don't mind.

"People can go to Florida if they want, but they're going to pay $2,000 to $3,000 to be this close to the water," Simmonds said.

Helmet Windzio from Massachusetts said he comes to South Padre Island for the wind and sunshine.

He wants the added revenue to benefit those who live at the park for several months out of the year.

"The biggest priority is the community center, it's falling apart," Windzio said. "The bathrooms are so bad that they can't hardly be used, the shower heads are falling apart, the toilets are non-operable - nothing is being done."

Vega said all of those fixes are part of the improvements plan for Isla Blanca Park.

There will also be road repairs, expansion of trails, upgrades to electrical and water hook-ups, and added lighting for security around the park.

"If they make the improvements, it would be worth it," said Martha Riley of Ingram, Texas.

These Winter Texans said $100 to $200 more in rent, won't keep them away, as long as they get their money's worth.

Vega said the original rates are being honored through the end of the year, but come Jan. 1, these visitors will have to pay the difference.

No reservations are being made past the winter season since the construction schedule for the upgrades hasn't been finalized.

A meeting about all the ongoing changes at Isla Blanca Park will be held on Dec. 13 at 9 a.m.


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