RV Parks Answer South Texas Housing Shortage
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The energy boom over the Eagle Ford shale formation promises to transform much of South Texas, but it has also created a housing shortage in some small towns like Carrizo Springs, KSDAT-TV, San Antonio, reported.
Like many communities on the Eagle Ford, Carrizo Springs was caught off guard and overwhelmed by the arrival of workers, said Leodoro Martinez Jr., with the Mid-Rio Grande Development Council. “I couldn’t give you an exact number, but it’s in the thousands,” Martinez said.
Martinez said housing is among its top priorities and helped organize a consortium of local governments and the energy industry in hopes of dealing with the issues created by the rush of oil and gas activity.
Right now, Martinez said there is not enough housing and not enough planning, but he said talks are ongoing between, “housing authorities, housing corporations, nonprofits, private developers — anybody that’s willing to invest a dollar in making housing available.”
As it is, Martinez said developers are reluctant to invest in new construction because any profit depends on how long the boom will last.
Martinez said companies won’t predict, but they’re investing a lot of money.
Miff Henniger, whose husband works in the oil patch, said his company is expanding incredibly fast, as are the number of RV parks like the one where Henniger lives with her husband have increased.
Henniger said the monthly rent for her RV space about $450 a month, utility bills included.
Ginny Touchet, manager of the Brush Country RV Park, said parks like hers are going up everywhere. “Anybody that has 15 or 20 acres are opening up parks,” Touchet said.
Rene Montalvo, an executive with Chesapeake Energy, said he searched for a place to live for weeks and now has 100-mile daily commute. With rental properties, mobile home parks, apartments and hotels at a premium throughout the Eagle Ford, Montalvo said he and other new arrivals are willing to live wherever they can.
“They’ll live as far as San Antonio, Uvalde, Sabinal, Eagle Pass or Laredo,” Montalvo said.