Building an RV park: Still waiting on the bank, but lots of progress on the RV park

By Machelle James
At the time of my last article we were waiting on the bank. You readers came up with several great ideas (Thank you!), and I emailed our banker with your suggestions. I told her I was now on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce AND I have hundreds of readers who want to email her with their very enthusiastic support for the bank to help fund AJ’s Getaway.

Our banker is onboard

Well, guess what? She called me to congratulate me on my Chamber position AND to set up a date to come up and see the property herself! Last Friday she came up and met with AJ and me, and we walked the whole property. She took tons of photos and gave us good feedback. The banker personally loves our location and the layout of our Campground. She and her partner were all in for the funding of our Campground. She has one holdout as she wasn’t a camper and just couldn’t see the Vision or understand the explosive growth in camping. This gal wears heels, and room service is her type of vacation – so I understand her view. BUT, shouldn’t it be about if we can pay back the loan, our Pro-Forma, our financials and the trends in the camping arena?

Our banker had us update our resumes, and send over the Pro-Forma and our financial information. Now she is putting together a write-up on WHY they should fund this project. I was told Thursday they would reach out this week if they need anymore information. The good news is if/when approved, we could get the funds in less than 10 days. So we wait … and wait … and wait.

We learned a lot at a Campground Management Conference

Machelle and AJ at Campground Management School

Meanwhile, AJ and I went to a Campground Management Conference last week in Phoenix. This was an all-day event for owners of campgrounds, RV parks and mobile home parks in Arizona. We drove into Phoenix the night before. Since the conference was in a casino, we had to have a little fun while we were there. Now, AJ and I are not gamblers by any means. But we decided to have some fun at the Craps and Roulette machine. I can say that for a few hours of ups and downs, we walked away while the winning was good.

We went to eat dinner and, lo and behold, our insurance agent was there for the conference. It was very nice to finally be able to meet him after months of talking with him on the phone. We all had a great visit getting to know one another. I think this is important as we have to have trust in each other when we open our Campground. We talked about what can we have and do on the property and what is a hard NO. (That would be a jumping pillow, zip lines and a few other potentially life-altering items!)

Some of what we learned at the conference

This conference was about new legislation being voted on for camping and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) requirements for dumping black tanks in Arizona. I don’t have all the details, but ADEQ is getting involved with pre-dumping before they hook up to each RV site. We also learned human resource policies, copyright music licenses, movie licenses, emergency preparedness, waivers, inherent risk, natural disasters, camping trends, and pet laws (service animal vs. emotional support animal). Did you know that a service animal can be a dog or a miniature horse? Well, hot dog! I hope someone comes in with a miniature horse just so I can see one!

We ended the conference with making new connections, learning new ideas and new laws, and where we need to go next with our business. We have a HUGE announcement to make as soon as I get the green light. I am so excited – I can hardly contain myself! I will give a clue and say it’s an Event that will be held here. Next time, I will say what it is, as long as all parties approve!

Big events coming up

I had my first meeting with the Town Leaders about the 4th of July events, security, logistics, vendors, and emergency preparedness. All I can say is we have planned for an AMAZING weekend of fun! The permits have been submitted for the 8 anvil explosions and the fireworks show. We have estimated about 30-40 thousand people will be here, based on the feedback and inquiries the town has had.

First water spigot being installed

Construction progress every day

As for now, the construction is going on every day and the guys FINALLY broke through the hardest of the rock that we have. All the septic lines are completed and we are testing the septic tank this week to make sure there are no leaks. We have our first water spigot installed, and they are back-filling the space as we speak. The next step is the guys will be working on the leach field and installing the water and electric.

Tractor with hammer, along with the guard dog, Leia (belongs to a friend).

We also are having all the electrical conduit delivered on Friday. My cousin is working on the electric and he had to get the conduit from 3 different locations as they are in short supply everywhere. The bad news about our electric installation is the price of copper went up about 3 times the cost we were originally quoted. This is so frustrating! Our budget just keeps blowing up, so we did have to ask for more from the bank than the original dollar amount.

But it will all be so worth it when we are open. The blood, sweat and tears will soon become a memory. We know it’s the price to pay to become your own Boss!

Thank You for following our Campground Journey and See You in the Trees!

And please leave a comment!

AJ, Machelle and Jenna

Read previous articles here.

Machelle James and her husband, AJ, are building, from the ground up, a 15-acre RV park in Heber-Overgaard, Arizona, in the beautiful White Mountains 140 miles from Phoenix. Follow them on Facebook @ AJ’s Getaway RV Park or on Instagram at ajsgetawayrvpark.


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