Mill Rehab Part of Travel Resorts of America Plan for Campground

November 21, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Sheard/Clymer Gristmill in Bucks County, Pa. Photo courtesy of historian Jim Miller. View other photos at

A North Carolina-based company plans to transform the Tohickon Family Campground in East Rockhill, Pa., into a resort for recreational vehicles.

Travel Resorts of America began leasing the 64-acre campground in June, according to Robert Bouse, director of operations. The company, which wants to purchase the property if it can move forward with renovations, recently met with township supervisors to see if they would be receptive to the company’s plans, reported.

Travel Resorts would like to nearly double the number of campsites at the facility, bringing it from 168 to about 300, Bouse said.

All the existing campsites would need to be upgraded to add more room and available power to accommodate today’s larger RVs, he added.

The plan would also include building some cabins, adding a “splash pad” water feature for children and a pet park, he said.

Bouse estimated that the proposed renovations would cost the company about $4 million, but that they would likely be done over the next 10 to 15 years.

“It’s a process, not an event,” he said. “We don’t do it overnight. We do it over a period of time.”

He pointed to the company’s other two RV resorts — one in Gettysburg and one in North Carolina — that Travel Resorts slowly renovated from older, rundown campgrounds into premiere vacation destinations.

One major component of the plan would have benefits for the whole community, Bouse said: the renovation of the Sheard/Clymer Gristmill on the property.

“It needs to be brought back to life,” Bouse said. “It’s not like we’re going to be crushing corn or grain, but it will be as close as we can get it to that working condition.”

The gristmill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006 and is considered significant both for its architecture and how it illustrates the development of the region’s milling industry.

The mill has been around since at least 1798. It was purchased in 1844 by Levi Sheard, then in 1916 transferred to brothers John and Rubin Clymer. It was a working mill until the 1970s.

Jim Deegan, who previously operated the campground, had hoped to sell the development rights of the property to help fund renovation of the mill, but the conservation easement deal never happened.

The mill still has all of its original equipment, which needs to be cleaned up and reassembled, said John VanLuvanee, lawyer for Travel Resorts of America.

The old mill combined with the nearby Sheard’s Mill Covered Bridge give the campground a historical and aesthetic appeal that was attractive to Travel Resorts, Bouse said.

East Rockhill supervisors gave an initial nod to the company’s plans, allowing them to begin discussions over zoning issues with township officials.

“It looks like a great improvement what they want to do,” said Supervisor Jim Nietupski. “It looks like a very professional organization.”


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