Fewer campers will have to rough it once utilities are extended to 17 RV sites in the Vineyards Campground in Grapevine, Texas.

On Tuesday (April 20), the Grapevine City Council approved spending $1.4 million to hook up water, sewer and electricity to the sites and to pay for foundations for additional cabins. It’s the latest step in a renovation effort begun in 2006, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

The lack of utilities was a chief complaint among otherwise excellent reviews for the 52-acre campground, said Joe Moore, assistant parks director for Grapevine. Tuesday’s action is a remedy that shows “we listen to the opinions of people as to what they say they need,” he said.

The city-owned camping area is “a big draw” to Lake Grapevine’s south shore, Moore said. Last year, it was one of two in Texas to receive a top score in a survey of RV enthusiasts. It also was named best medium-size campground by the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO.

Its 68 RV sites average a 70% occupancy rate for the year, and the five furnished cabins are booked until mid-August, he said.

That traffic generates enough fees to cover maintenance, as well as to repay $1.7 million in bonds issued last year for improvements.

The $1.4 million approved Tuesday is from those bonds and also pays Carrollton-based Cooper General Contractors to build foundations for seven more cabins, which cost up to $50,000 apiece and will be funded separately.

Construction is expected to begin in a couple of weeks and end in September, Moore said. Those five months are considered peak camping season but provide the lowest risk of flooding of the work sites.

Flooding in 2007 covered campground roads with mud, ruined landscaping and submerged a number of tent and RV sites. Cleanup cost more than $150,000 after Grapevine spent $2 million upgrading the facility and changing the name from Silver Lake Campground the year before.

The campground was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1960s and later leased at no cost to the city.