HARDY, AR (KAIT) – For years the City of Hardy has owned an RV park located next to the Spring River. The park has gone through management changes, and devastating floods that caused major damage to the infrastructure.
Now in a surprising move, the Hardy Fire Department has taken over the park. Spaces have been updated, bathrooms remodeled, and wiring problems repaired. All this work has been completed by volunteer firefighters.
The fire department will pay the city around $700 a month, and then any profits above that number will go into the city funds to help the fire department.
Firefighter Jim Griffin says the park is very popular in the area.
"We don't put up with drinking, fighting, stuff like that. It's a good family campground."
But this campground has needed some help for a long time. The city didn't have the money to make costly repairs to the wiring that was damaged by flooding . Chief Rose said the wiring was so old and damaged that is was easier to just disconnect part of it. Rose, "The electricity for instance is now about a third of what it used to be." But that one third he says is in great shape. When money can be found he said hopefully all of it will be brought up to code.
The fire department will pay rent to the city for the park and do the upkeep. Since the department took over they have volunteered their time to clean up the park, refurbish the bathhouse and just make it attractive to visitors. Jim Griffith says their department of 25 had plenty of talent to complete the work. "We have electricians and plumbers who are volunteer fireman and they have all worked together to get it done."
"All the firemen agreed they would kick in a little spare time to get this going and keep it going." Rose said. Any profits off the lease payments will go into the city coffers to help the department buy new equipment. "In a small town we don't have a lot of money coming in for that . So we're in hopes that if we get it going we'll see profits there for equipment that we would like to have."
The only RV currently at the park is owned by Evelyn Albertson and her brother Bud Young. They are heading back to Indiana from Arizona. Their RV is set up to be a portable engraving shop that they sell items for at the various amateur radio meets they attend. Albertson says they have always liked staying in Hardy.
"A long time ago we camped here when the camp was open but then it was closed for a number of years so we're delighted that it's open again and available." said Albertson. "It's got everything we need and the river is so close, we watched on the boats on Sunday, it was very nice."
And her opinion on the new management?
Albertson, "It should do well for them. They will have to keep the grass mowed so I hope they have enough volunteers to keep that done."
Chief Rose says the volunteers' work is starting to pay off already. "Lotta folks just want to come up and drive through and look around and they'll see this park and ask questions and they'll come back later and rent a spot."
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