CROWLEY, Texas — After suffering more than $35 million in damage during a fertilizer plant explosion last spring, the city of West, Texas, is quickly rebuilding. More than 130 building permits have been approved since the explosion, said City Councilman Al Vanek.
Located about 20 miles north of Waco, West is famous for its Czech heritage and its bakeries, such as The Czech Stop, which specialize in Czech pastries and other culinary delights. The city’s antique stores also feature Czech crystal, which is among the finest produced in Europe.
The city’s tourism business is also getting a boost from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), which is providing West with a free quarter page display ad in the association’s 2014 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas.
“The exposure in the RV Travel & Camping Guide could translate into more people stopping here,” Vanek said.“ Just getting the word out is the main thing; just getting people to stop.” Interstate 35, the main north-south corridor that brings tourists into the city, is being widened, which will make it easier for travelers to get on and off the highway.
Vanek said as many as 80,000 people pass through West on Interstate 35 each day, and the quarter page ad in the RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas is certain to encourage many of them to visit the city for a taste of Czech history and culture.
“We wanted to do something to help the city of West as they try to rebuild,” said Brian Schaeffer, TACO’s executive director and CEO.
The April 17 blast killed 15 and injured 200, while also damaging local water and sewer systems. Gov. Rick Perry has said the city sustained more than $35 million in damage. The city of West had been under a mandatory water-boil until mid-July.
TACO produces 250,000 copies of the RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas each year. The free, four-color glossy magazine lists more than 350 campgrounds and RV resorts in Texas and surrounding states.
The directory is broken up into seven sections, each representing a distinct region of Texas. Locator maps are provided at the beginning of each section, with numbered listings of the campgrounds for each region. Campgrounds are also alpha-indexed by city and park name.
Each campground listing includes a grid that lists the park’s facilities, services and amenities as well as driving directions, a miniature locator map and many parks have panoramic photos showing off what campers can experience. The directory also features a Texas Saver Card, which provides a 10 percent discount at participating parks.
The directory also includes a separate section listing campgrounds with cabin and cottage rentals as well as a listing of park model manufacturers. Schaeffer said 25 percent of Texas campgrounds have cabin or cottage rentals. Many of the parks that offer cabin and cottage are seeing significant occupancy increases due to the popularity of the camping lifestyle.
RV and camping enthusiasts can order the nearly 150-page directory online by visiting www.texascampgrounds.com. The 2013 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas is currently posted on the website in digital page-turning format.
SOURCE: Texas Association of Campground Owners press release