Roger Jourden II, exhibiting a true entrepreurial spirit, thinks the current economic downturn is the perfect time to build an upscale RV resort in west Michigan.
Jourden and his wife, Casey, broke ground this summer for Duck Creek RV Resort, a 157-site campground near Muskegon, Mich., and hope to open the facility by mid-May. Casey Jourden will manage the resort, which is set to open the weekend before Memorial Day.
“We’ve been talking about doing this project for several years,” said Roger Jourden, who is building the resort on a 73-acre parcel directly across the street from Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park, which Jourden’s father owned before selling it to Cedar Fair Inc. several years ago.
The Jourdens, avid RVers themselves who own an excavating company, looked at their company’s workload and decided 2008 was the time to start. “If ever there’s been a time to bring our crews in and do this for ourselves, this is the time,” he told Woodall’s Campground Management.
The economic headwinds did not deter them.
“People are still going to travel, no matter what the economy is doing,” said Jourden, who noted that the amusement park, the state’s largest amusement park, set an all-time attendance record in 2008. “We are not building just with the intention of (just) serving them. We are marketing Duck Creek as a stand-alone destination resort, knowing full well we will benefit them too,” he said.
Indeed, Jourden looked around and saw nothing quite like Duck Creek within 50 miles. Each site will include a paved RV pad and patio and measure 65 feet by 50 feet. All will have full hookup, Wi-Fi and cable television.
The interior roads are somewhat curvy and hilly and some mature trees were spared. “We have strived not to have that flat, cookie-cutter look,” Jourden said, adding that plans call for a 50-foot green or common area between sites. A 2,400-square-foot pool, designed in the shape of a duck, and a 3,500-suare-foot clubhouse also are to be built over the winter. The latter will include a bathhouse, a great room and small kitchen for groups, a game room, vending room and laundry.
The Jourdens also plan to build a pond, trails, two playground structures and basketball and tennis courts. They’ve begun to market at www.duckcreekrvresort.com and will promote their new enterprise at RV shows in Chicago, Detroit and Grand Rapids this winter.
If all goes well, the Jourdens expect to break ground on Phase II, an additional 142 sites, with opening by 2012, he said.
Daily rates are $40 for May 15-June 25, $49 for June 26-Sept. 6, and $38 for Sept. 7-Oct. 24. Weekly and monthly rates also are available. A full season camping experience will be $4,500.