Hotelier Plans RV Park for Florida’s Panhandle
A hotelier and developer 0n Okaloosa Island, Fla., has unveiled plans to build a 6.2-acre RV resort on the north side of U.S. Highway 98 in the state’s panhandle, The Northwest Florida Daily News reported.
Tripp Tolbert, who owns the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort, has proposed the Island RV Resort, which will go before Okaloosa County commissioners for approval on Tuesday (Jan. 18).
Tolbert’s company, Waterpark Place Development Corp., is behind the project planned for just east of the former Island Golf Center property on Okaloosa Island.
“I feel there’s a need in this area for an RV resort,” said Tolbert, who added that most serious RV tourists end up in Santa Rosa or Walton counties. “Not only will it capture an audience we’re presently missing, I think it’ll complement the conference center because a lot of people come to the shows and they travel in RVs.”
Tolbert said an RV resort also would accommodate traveling sports teams in the spring seasons.
Current plans call for 54 RV spaces and a variety of amenities.
“It’s going to have a swimming pool. It’s going to be gated,” Tolbert said. “We’re going to have a check-in facility with a restroom, shower, whatnot.”
He said he eventually would like to add pontoon and other boat rentals at the rear of the property.
“I own the Ramada, so anything I do over there I want to be done in good taste,” Tolbert said. “I have a lot at stake out here.”
He said the RV resort will feature “heavy, heavy landscaping.”
“It’s going to be very lush, very beautiful,” Tolbert said. “I’m not doing a trailer park.”
He said his rates will be structured to attract a higher end of business.
“I’m only allowing three classes of (motor) coaches and I’m restricting about eight classes,” he said. “We’re not having campers on trucks or pop-up tents or any of that.”
Local developer Bob Bonezzi said he likes the idea.
“I’m all for it as long as it’s high-end,” said Bonezzi, who added that an RV resort would fit in well along the U.S. 98 corridor of Okaloosa Island.
County Commissioner Don Amunds said he doesn’t object to what he’s heard so far, but wants more information.
“I don’t have a major problem with an RV park, but obviously we’re going to have to look at the details and listen to folks Tuesday,” he said.
Tolbert said the property lends itself to some kind of tourism use.
“I think it’ll be a great year-round facility,” he said. “I want to do something that’s family oriented and complements the hotel business … and is good for the area.”