Texas City Gets First Payments for Park
Walter Preble, owner and operator of the Rusk KOA campground in Rusk, Texas, made a payment of $22,500 Dec. 28 to the city of Rusk. The payment was the first of 10 scheduled to be made annually to the city, according to The Cherokeean Herald in Rusk.
The Rusk City Council approved the sale of the KOA campground for $225,000 to Preble Aug. 3, 2006.
The sale ended the city’s role at the campsite. The city had been involved in construction of the campsite since 2004.
On Sept. 10, 2006, 73% of those voting in a city election instructed the city council to sell the KOA campground. Whether to spend upward of $1 million to develop the campsite was a divisive and controversial issue for Rusk citizens, the newspaper noted.
Up to the time of the sale, the city had spent almost $600,000. Of that amount, $488,000 came from timber sales placed in a recreational fund and another $100,000 was borrowed from other city funds.
Construction estimates to complete the facility ranged from $500,000 to $750,000.
In the beginning the city council was told construction cost of the facility would be approximately $275,000.
When he bid on the facility, Preble told the city council that he was committed to make the campsite work. His first payment came several days prior to the due date on Jan. 1.
Sixteen years before their arrival in Rusk Preble and his wife, Carol, purchased a campground in Ohio. Although approximately 78% of the people in the area receive welfare, after 12 years the park was ranked the number one campground in America.
The Prebles were employed with Kampgrounds of America (KOA) in Billings, Mont., before leaving to buy the Texas park.