Interview with the Owner and Builder of the RV Park in Hillsboro
In Part one of this series which explores the impact of the Pipeline workers coming into Pocahontas County, we talked with Mayor Anne Walker of Hillsboro about the new RV park in Hillsboro built to house workers coming into the County to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. In Part 2 of this series, we will continue to explore the impact of the RV Park and its projected new residents by talking with Donnie Rose, who owns the park and who built it.
I asked Donnie how the project began.
“One of the ladies from the Pipeline does her laundry in Hillsboro at the Laundromat” said Rose. “I think she noticed the vacant lot and she, I think, mentioned it to her husband, one of the Superintendents of the Pipeline. and the thing was we needed to contact each other (about) what my plans were for that lot in front of the Laundromat. We made contact and they said ‘you build it and we’ll fill it up for you.’ So we decided to do it, we were doing nothing with that property –I’ve owned it for years and never done anything with it. It’s time to do something with it. So, that’s how it really got started.”
How many sites will be on the property?
“Twenty-five” Rose answered. “What it is, some of them are singles and some of them are doubles. The front part of it is all doubles. That means the trailers can park side-by-side and hook into the same pedestal. The back row is singles –only can be one row back there, but over next to the highway (US 219) there’s going to be two rows of campers.”
I guess it worked out well for you since you own an excavation company.
“We decided just to go ahead and do it” Rose said. “We do this type of work every day. It looked like iIt was an opportunity to maybe make a little bit of money off of it so (it was) quite an expense putting them in, but once you get it in, hopefully over the years you can make a little money off of it.”
Did you have any communication with the Town or the community about it?
“I did” Rose said. “I first started with the Town to see if they had any problem with it and they didn’t have. And I talked to anybody that I thought might have any regulations. Talked to the Health Department – it’s been approved. I had to get a permit to do this. I talked to the State- I guess that is as far as it went was the State.”
Have you considered that it is going to change the culture of the Town?
“Yeah –I’m not certain what I will do with it once the Pipeline is gone” said Rose. “I have different thoughts what I can do with it, but ah, we will just have to wait and see. I have no plans for it once they are gone. Maybe make it into cutting it down and making it more of a park-like for people –maybe overflow for Watoga. You know they’re kind of hard to get a campsite down there in the summertime. So it could be that I may leave it as a park, maybe plant a few trees, make it look more ‘campier’ I guess you could call it.”
Has the Company given you any idea of what type of people will be coming? Will it be families? Will it be single people?
“There will be both” Rose said. “Some of them will be families. Maybe they will bring their families and have some kids that would get into the schools. I really don’t know. You know, we’ve had some people in the community that said they bring crime and drugs. These guys are coming here to work, not to sell drugs or party all night. The homes that they come here in are anywhere between 50 and 100 thousand dollar homes that they’re pulling, and their truck that they pull em with is 60 to 70 thousand dollars.”
And if a couple of them do turn out to be a problem…
“I’ve been contacted by the pipeline security people and been told if you have any problems what-so-ever –I have a number to call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If there is any issue with any of the renters at the campsite, I am to call them and they guaranteed me they would be taken care of.”
I guess some of the other businesses in town are very supportive of this?
“Yes, I think so because it’s gonna increase their business” Donnie agreed. “I’m sure it will help everybody in town. One person in town objected to it I think his thoughts were there would be a lot of trash accumulating at the park, but I’m not going to let that happen.”