Concessioner Changes Rules at TVA RV Park
With summer officially here this coming Friday and July 4th just around the corner, enjoying the great outdoors at Normandy Lake’s Barton Springs Campground near Normandy, Tenn., is on many recreational plans.
However, visitors to the campground will find a few changes since Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) turned operations over to a private management company — Recreation Resource Management Inc. (RRM), based in Phoenix, Ariz., the Tullahoma News, Tullahoma, Tenn., reported
Under contract, the company has started charging fees for some services that had been free in the past with an intent to upgrade the property to make camping at Barton Springs safer and more user friendly, according to Leland and Linda Willis, who are Barton Springs new managers and also manage Normandy’s Cedar Point Campground.
Linda Willis said Cedar Point is closed until water supply issues can be taken care of, but Barton Springs is in operation with all campsites now having water service and electrical access.
“The key point is we want to have a clean, safe, friendly recreational area,” she said. “We want people to enjoy it and come back.”
A big difference from when TVA had operated the campgrounds is the management company is charging $7 per vehicle with up to five persons to access the property. Each additional person beyond the initial five costs $1 each.
Willis said the intent is to keep track of vehicles that are on the property through a registration process to ensure safety. She added that drivers dropping off or picking up visitors during a short time period won’t be charged the vehicle fee.
Recreation Resource Management handles government-owned campground services in 11 states. The most common arrangement is to operate a revenue-producing operation through concession and commercial lease agreements.
Willis said the company pays TVA proceeds from the fees it collects.
Through the contracts, Recreation Resource Management is responsible for all aspects of managing the property, including hiring employees and managers.
RRM performs maintenance and cleaning work on the property, and is responsible for most normal operating expenses, from insurance to marketing to utilities to regular maintenance. In return, RRM collects all revenue from the property, paying the government an agreed-upon percentage of the revenues as a fee.
Typically, these contracts will specify the scope and quality standards of the work to be performed, the operating hours and days, the maximum fee rates, and the agreed-upon revenue share to government.
Willis said she wants the public to understand the changes and why they are being made.
“Leland and I have really been concerned about some of the confusion in the community and our hope is to ease some of the negative feelings with folks by helping them to understand some of the changes that are being implemented at Barton Springs Campground and Cedar Point (when it opens). Experience tells us that these issues will be short lived as our other TVA contracted campground operations have been extremely successful and well appreciated by our guests.”
Willis said she and Leland transferred from Honeycomb Campground — another TVA recreation area located on Guntersville Lake in Alabama.
“We are given certain criteria by TVA and RRM to implement such things as fee changes and rules and regulation changes,” she said. “It is our sincere desire to provide top-quality customer service, to treat everyone with fairness and honesty and to provide for our valued customers a clean, safe, and family-oriented recreation area.”