Dozens of energy workers wonder where they’ll live if a Meeker, Colo., recreational vehicle park is forced to shut down in a month.
About 50 people, including workers and their spouses and children, filled a Rio Blanco County commissioners meeting Monday (June 23) to ask the county to let a temporary 96-unit RV park west of Meeker continue operating after its permit expires July 31, according to the Grand Junction Sentinel.
County Commission Chairman Forrest Nelson said it’s possible the county, located in the northwest corner of the state, could approve a “very temporary” extension. But he said people have bought homes in a new subdivision by the park, with the understanding the park would be closing.
“They’re putting heat on us, too, so it’s not a one-sided deal,” Nelson said.
Park co-owner Ginny Love and her husband are also developing the housing subdivision. She said they long have planned to remove the park and still intend to do so. She said they don’t want to close it until park residents have alternative places to live.
Love and some of her tenants say there is nowhere else for them to live anywhere near their jobs, thanks to the county’s energy boom.
“It’s going to be an issue because there are trailers that may not have a place to go,” Love said.
Karen Simon said her husband, James, moved to Meeker to work on a natural gas plant, and she found a job as a contract nurse in Craig, 50 miles away. They live at Love’s park.
“It’s a huge imposition to have to move, and plus there’s nowhere to move to,” Karen Simon said.
Love said she got the impression commissioners would try to seek a solution. She said she would apply for an extension of her permit.
Love said there are no RV spaces to rent as far away as Utah, and she has 60 people on a waiting list. Simon said all the motels and apartments in Meeker are full.
“Some people are renting rooms in people’s houses,” she said.
Nelson said it’s unfair for the county to be taking heat over the RV park’s future. He said the energy industry needs to step forward to meet temporary employee housing needs.
He said the Loves also have failed to deal with sewer, garbage and other problems at the park. Love said the park would install a new septic system if its permit is extended.
Simon said the park issue points to more deep-seated resentment in the Meeker area toward energy-related growth.
“It’s kind of like they’re trying to drive out the workers, and I hate to put it that way, but that’s just the feeling we have,” she said.