Gypsum approves plan for large expansion to River Dance RV Resort
On Wednesday, July 4, Lonnie Anderson, of Avon, found some relief from 96-degree temperatures on the banks of the Eagle River at the River Dance RV resort on the western side of Gypsum.
His parents, traveling from Orange County, California, also found respite at the site. Anderson noted River Dance is the only local RV park, and his folks were happy to find the site so they could pay a visit to their son and the Vail Valley.
“They were excited about the full hookups,” Anderson said. “It’s accessible here, and it’s family friendly. They just wish there was more shade.”
Give the site a few months, and that’s part of an ambitious plan that will increase the 40-pad RV park to a maximum of 221 pads, construct an independent wastewater treatment plant, expand the domestic water treatment facilities and build various amenities spread out over the 71.1-acre property.
Big project, no objections
The River Dance property was annexed into the town of Gypsum in January 2017, and the development proposal was first floated last year. While the new development plan represents a large expansion to the existing operation, Gypsum Community Development Director Lana Gallegos said she hasn’t received a single objection to the proposal.
“They are providing their own water and wastewater services, and it is certainly a needed amenity in the valley,” Gallegos said.
Global Assets Recovery, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is the new owner of the RV park, which it acquired in a bulk purchase of distressed properties. The company has stated that the growing demand for quality recreational vehicle overnight and multinight parking drove its expansion proposal.
According to planner Ron Liston, of Glenwood Springs’ Land Design Partners, Global Assets Recovery was intrigued by the potential of the River Dance property.
“There is such a tremendous demand for overnight camping,” Liston said during the annexation process. “There aren’t a whole lot of options from the canyon up. That is really what has driven the plan.”
Liston also noted that today’s RV owner is looking for more than just a place to park his or her vehicle.
“That market is expecting some pretty nice facilities,” Liston said.
Yes, shade is one of the things that today’s RV traveler wants. But the list of desired amenities is a whole lot more expansive than that.
For instance, there will be four bath houses located around the River Dance site that include restrooms and showers, along with laundry facilities. “Recreation activities and socializing are important aspects of an RV resort experience,” noted the River Dance planned unit development application. For that reason, the list of proposed facilities at the site is extensive, including:
• A central building with offices, convenience/retail shop, food and beverage services with limited seating, community socializing space and restrooms.
• Swimming pool and splash plaza.
• Dog walk areas.
• Pet-wash facility.
• Deck and patio space with furnishings and a fire pit; this would be the only solid-fuel fire pit in the resort.
• A pavilion which would be open-air but covered structure if user demand warrants.
• Pickleball court.
• Children’s playground.
• Sand volleyball court.
• Other activity areas, such as kid-sized checker board, bag toss games and more are anticipated.
The biggest current asset at River Dance will continue to be a draw for the resort. The Eagle River borders the southern side of the park, and there is access through the park.
Along with the in-park amenities, the River Dance plan features 29.9 acres of open space, including a 2.4-acre area along the Eagle River that has been earmarked as a rafting takeout site. The riverfront open space will be dedicated to the town of Gypsum.
While the town has approved the River Dance plan and annexed the property, the owners are now working with the state of Colorado on the wastewater treatment facility permit. The expansion won’t proceed until that facility is completed. The River Dance owners hope to begin construction of the wastewater plant this fall, and the first state of expansion will accommodate approximately 100 pads, slightly more than double the current park size.
“Based on support from occupancy growth and market demand, the final River Dance phase would incorporate RV pads and a bath house at the western, or downriver, end of the property,” noted the project application. The westward development would require additional expansion of the wastewater treatment plant.
On the subject of cost, Liston has noted that until actual construction is completed, the River Dance owners won’t know what fees will be charged at the park. A quick look at RV parks currently operating in western Colorado — in Grand Junction, Fruita and Cedaredge — show nightly fees ranging from $30 to $45, depending on the size of the camping pad and the services offered.