River View park considers expansion

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 17, 2005

VIDALIA, La. &045; The owners of River View Park and Resort don’t mind if you talk about them behind their backs.

In fact, they hope you do it a lot.

The RV and motor home park lining the Mississippi River in Vidalia does business based on word of mouth, co-owner Larry Chauvin said. And the 244 mouths that ate, slept and talked at the park last week as a part of the Monaco Wan-na-go’s rally, will probably do a lot of good for business.

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Monaco Rally Master Hoyt Highfill said last week that he’d love to bring his group back to the Vidalia park but wanted to see it expand.

Expansion is something Chauvin said he was definitely interested in, but it has to be based on business.

&uot;When you have one big group in there once a year, you can’t expand on that,&uot; Chauvin said.

But in their fourth year of existence, business is starting to pick up.

&uot;I had no idea how long it would take to get it off the ground,&uot; Chauvin said. &uot;But we are in all the national RV books now, and we are getting a lot of word of mouth and getting group repeats.&uot;

The Monaco group, the second largest international motor home club with more than 400 coaches, plans to be back in two years and said they will schedule an annual visit every year after that, Chauvin said.

Currently the park has 155 full hookups, with water, sewer and electricity. Another 30 to 40 dry docks are available where water and electricity can be provided.

All those spots, including the dry docks, have been full in recent years for the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race, the Vidalia Fire Department’s Vittles and Fiddles Festival, the Jim Bowie Festival and the Fourth of July.

Chauvin said when the park was built, expansion room was left open, including several grassy areas that he would like to see paved with concrete slabs for RVs.

The Monaco group also requested a larger meeting facility area. Currently the park offers a un-air conditioned metal building for gatherings, entertainment and meals.

The building can be rented, but is available at a discount if the group is large.

Chauvin said the park was not going to renovate this building or construct a larger one, but instead would rely on the City of Vidalia’s Welcome Center slated for construction this summer.

He said working with Vidalia and Natchez was an integral part of bringing tourists into the area. Mayor Hyram Copeland encouraged Chauvin and his partner Cappy Stahlman to open the park.

&uot;Natchez works with us and helps us a lot and we send people over,&uot; Chauvin said. &uot;We need to get more with the garden clubs, we can fill up buses and send them over.&uot;

A stay at the park is $75 a night for a full sized site.