b'OWNERS PERSPECTIVE nBY RON BARGERBellefonte KOA Well-Capitalizedto Continue Growing Down the Road Tucked away in the mountains, justIts a circle of banks, dips and hills,The Bellefonte/State College KOA Holiday is currently adding a pump track to its park, while looking 17 miles from State College, Pa., homehe said. It has been a significant invest- to add more campsites down the road. Credit: Bellefonte/State College KOA HolidaytoPennStateUniversity,thefamily- ment. owned Bellefonte/State College Kamp- Work was set to wrap up on that proj-grounds of America (KOA) Holiday hadect in either October or November.a record year in 2021 and continues ex- In 2019, the park added 30 new RV tensive upgrades and expansions forsites, a new bathhouse and a solar field.2022 and beyond. The solar field was designed to sup-According to Casey Dillon, grandsonply 106% of the power needs for the of the original founder who started thecampground,Dillonexplained.It company in 1969, the business is wellfeeds back to the grid and then we have capitalized and taking advantage of thisa net energy meter reading agreement booming economy. with the utility. Every kilowatt hour we We currently have 105 RV sites andsupply to the grid gets deducted from 18 cabins, with a total of 144 sites withour other energy expenses. I dont think our tent areas, said Dillon. This yearit quite hits 100% currently. Its a lot of was the busiest season weve ever hadstoring credits in the winter and then and Im sure there are lots of other own- not making as much as we use in the ers who will tell you that as well. summer and using the credits from thewards a demographic of families withhave some more land that I want to sur-Dillon and his mom and co-owner,winter to supplement. teenagers and preteens. There is also aveytoconsiderdevelopingmoreRV Barb Saulsbury, believe in continuousBellefonteopensthefirstweekofsmaller section called a Bicycle Play- sites, he stated. We want more of the improvement and service expansion ofApril and closes after the last Penn Stateground, and thats designed for littlelarger pull-throughs, but thats a whole the property as being key to its success.University home game in November. kids as well.process.Were currently adding a bike parkWehaveallthebasicsinserviceI feel like last year the industry got aDillon said the last expansion took with a pump track, and we are startingfrom water, electric, sewer, Wi-Fi andwhole bunch of new campers and noover three years from the survey to per-anewphaseofconstructionsoon,cable at pretty much every site, Dillonone was planning very far ahead, Dil- mitting and design. added Dillon. said. We have the pool, splash park, alon said. This year, people are still try- The construction only took eight Dillon noted that pump tracks are bi- jumping pillow and a sports recreationing to do that, but everything is sold out.months, but the rest of that was get-cycle features that are popping up morearea. We do meals on Fridays and Sun- Its having an impact and now peopletingmysewerplanandmypublic at campgrounds for teens and youngdays. We have a stocked fishing pondare really trying to book ahead more. water supply permitting, along with a adultstousewithbikesandskate- and every weekend from Memorial DayWell capitalized at this point in time,plan for my storm water runoff, he boards. They run over undulating as- through Labor Day I have an activityDillon is already planning a new majorexplained. Add the design work and phalt and concreate structures and areschedule that we run through the week- expansion for the future. moving dirt, that type of thing, and it meanttokeeparidersmomentumends. Wereactuallyhavingasurveyorshows that you just have to plan way going once they begin the track.He stated that the park is geared to- come out sometime this fall, and weahead.WCMBay Hide Away RV Park & Campground Dodges Ida, and Enjoys Booming 2021 Bay Hide Away RV Park & Camp- parkin2018,wehavebeenaddingwintertime. We do five to seven activi- is having food trucks come out a couple ground, located on the Gulf Coast ofthings non-stop. We have remodeledties a week for our snowbirds there.of times a month, Taylor noted. Weve Mississippi, made it through Hurricaneour bathhouse, took our clubhouse andThese added amenities have made agot fiber internet, a pool, disc golf, as Ida in August unscathed to continue itsconverted it to a store, and now we aredifference. well as a bath house and laundry, all the record-breaking year. taking our pavilion that is attached toThe store has been a huge hit, but abasic stuff.We couldnt ask for a better season,our store and were enclosing it for thesmall service we are adding this winterOwners Perspective continued on page 36said the parks owner Lea Taylor. Sadly, Hurricane Ida has been tough on oth-ers, but for us weve just been slammed.I dont know how we managed to get throughIdawithnodamage,she added. We lost our power for 45 min-utes and the day after the storm, the phone just started ringing off the wall.She explained that the first wave of campers were evacuees from nearby Louisiana. Once the evacuees left, when the power came back in their areas, an-other wave of customers pushed the limits of her 50-site campground on the ocean as in mid-September the park was mostly filled with insurance ad-justers and workers who were working to help repair Hurricane Ida damage. As Taylor moved into fall, her regular snowbirdvisitorswerebeginningto make reservations as they planned to head back south.Theyll start coming in November, she explained. Were just trying to ex-plaintothesefolksherenow,who thought they would be here for months, that were sold out with snowbird reser-vations. I dont know how long were going to be able to accommodate these adjusters and workers. Taylorcontinuestoexpandher campground during these boom years.We added 10 new sites last year, she said. Were a smaller park, so we went from 40 to 50 sites. Since we bought the WOODALLSCM.comDecember 2021 15'