RV Park & Travel Center Open to Full Capacity; Expansion Plans Already Underway

20 Sep 2019

Giddings, TX (September 17, 2019) – The newly developed Giddings RV Park, located on the west side of the city, opened earlier this month to high demand and is already operating at full capacity thanks to an active oil and gas industry and interest from vendors preparing for the upcoming. Round Top Antiques Show.   

In addition to its convenient location along Highway 290, the 16 acre park offers 52 pad sites, and a wealth of highly coveted amenities such as access to city water and sewer, showers, restrooms, high speed internet, electrical outlets, a 2,000 sq ft meeting/ event facility, a fishing pond, shaded lots, and a propane station.

The park has also rapidly become a sought-after location due to its proximity to the FunTown RV Dealership, which specializes in sales as well as maintenance of non-motorized RV’s, and to the 290 Travel Plaza, which offers weary workers hot meals and an extensive selection of convenience items.  The travel center sits adjacent to the park and the dealership is across the street.

“During our early outreach to the FunTown group, the company expressed their desire to locate close to an RV park.  We learned about the importance of city utilities to the RV community since it eliminates the need for the park to maintain a dump station on site and keeps clients from having to travel to a dump station, which can be 15-20 miles or more away from many parks.   The RV sales industry is incredibly competitive with new businesses popping up all over the place. We recognized immediately that a travel center and RV park would help secure the long-term viability of the dealership since a company operating around supporting businesses is much less likely to close its doors.  The travel plaza, the RV park and the dealership create a synergy and they are stronger together.  That’s a model that other businesses should emulate,” stated Britton.

In 2017, the Awad family of Giddings, operating as 290 Travel Plaza LLC, purchased the 26 acre site which now comprises the park and the travel plaza.  Early the next year, the company redeveloped and then opened the 9,000 sq ft travel center on the property located at 1790 W Austin Street, before seeking and receiving authorization from the City to develop the adjacent land as an RV Park. 

Now that Phase I comprising the first nine acres of the park has been completed, the company is focused on developing the remaining 7 acres.  Phase II will bring with it the addition of 72 pad sites and an expansion of services that will include a general store stocked with fishing supplies, RV accessories, drinks, cook-out equipment and other items of interest to travelers.

Even with the expansion of the park, the site has room for additional development. The travel plaza includes a divided section with bay door access that can be used for a separate commercial purpose. In addition, the property also houses a 3,100 sq foot Quonset Hut that is currently underutilized.  The GEDC is seeking tenants for both spaces.

The GEDC strongly advocated for the travel center and RV park as the project moved through the approval and design process with the city.  To expedite the project, the GEDC provided a grant award to the Travel Center/ RV Park.  The GEDC was also instrumental in recruiting FunTown RV into the old car dealership, which had been vacant for more than 7 years and been targeted by vandals who had removed much of the copper wiring from within the building.  Due to the building’s size, its prominent location at the entrance to the city and its high value parking, the organization aggressively targeted the property as a site for redevelopment and was able to recruit a new business into the facility without the lure of incentives. 

“Less than four years ago, travelers driving east into Giddings were faced with 35 acres of raw land overgrown with weeds and felled trees.  The old car dealership was nothing more than a cluster of long-abandoned buildings and the new travel plaza was occupied by a weary feed store withering with old inventory and few customers.  Today, we have a cluster of mutually supportive businesses that are servicing a valued workforce, while attracting new motorcoach and trucking clientele from throughout the country.  This is the type of synergy we would love to see recreated across the city, however, these projects don’t happen by accident.  They require committed, visionary partners who recognize an opportunity, can envision the potential and then work toward making good things happen,” stated Tonya Britton, Giddings Economic Development Director.   “This is exactly what we found while working with the owners of both FunTown RV and the Travel Plaza/ RV Park. We are incredibly lucky they’ve chosen Giddings.”

Nationally, the RV and campground industry provided $49.7 billion in direct economic output and 289,852 jobs in 2015, according to a report prepared by Brooklyn, New York-based John Dunham & Associates for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). That same year, the RV and campground industry accounted for $1.8 billion in direct economic output and 9,151 jobs in Texas, according to a comprehensive analysis of RV segment of the travel and tourism business. The RVIA report found that the $1.8 billion in direct economic output from the RV and campground industries in Texas included $933.4 million from RV manufacturers and suppliers; $424.2 million from RV sales and service; and $397.7 million from campgrounds, RV parks, and resort.

In terms of employment, the RV and campground industries in Texas account for 9,151 jobs, including 1,761 with RV manufacturers and suppliers; 3,286 RV sales and service jobs; and 4,104 jobs generated by the campground sector.

While an exact value of the improvements for the Giddings facilities is still being determined, the GEDC estimates that the property improvements for the Travel Plaza, the RV Park and FunTown RV Dealership to be well in excess of $5 million.  This estimate does not include the value of inventory or equipment, or the benefit the city has derived from sales tax revenue.  Once Phase II of the RV project has been completed, the three projects will have brought more than 50 new jobs to the area, many of which are highly paid maintenance and sales workers.