Friday, November 25, 2005

Economic Impact of an Off-Road Park

“We hold one of only 26 Jeep Jamborees in the U. S. We host about 30 other events/year,” Debbie Wombels of the Rockport Off-Road Park that she and her husband Tom started in 2003 told me. “Tom started the Two Rivers Jeep Club about 15 years ago. He has a bulldozer business and I’m an x-ray technician. We’d always dreamed of starting our own business.”

They received a $1.2 million state grant earlier this year to buy 350 acres of land that they were leasing, giving them ownership of 750 acres. “We either had to buy that land or the deer hunters would have snapped it up. The grant was funded by a special tax on ATV sales.”

They charge $15/day for ATVs and dirt bikes ($10/day for kids) and $20/day for jeeps and trucks. Nine thousand vehicles have used the facility so far this year.

Debbie told me, “While we aren’t making any money yet, we are paying out bills.” She figures that the park has a $1 million+ impact upon the local economy with people staying in hotels, campgrounds, etc.

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