MEADVILLE, Penn. – The Meadville, Pennsylvania, KOA Campground is celebrating its 40th year of serving campers in Northwest Pennsylvania in 2018.
The campground location, currently owned by Tim and Robyn Chilson, has a long history that predates its time as a camping facility.
The McClemens family originally purchased the land from the Holland Land Company in 1893, and built a homestead and barn on the site in 1914, in an area known at that time as McClemens Flats.
In 1945, the Roae family purchased the property and turned the farm into an auction barn and built ponds for a fish hatchery, where they raised and sold flathead minnows for fishing in Pymatuning Lake. In 1978, they turned the auction barn and farm into Brookdale 1914 Campground, taking the name directly from the date on the old red barn and the brook that runs through the center of the property.
The Chilsons said people still come in and ask if there used to be a big barn with roller skating in the loft at the campground. The barn served as the main building complex for the campground until it burned down in 1984. Several campers helped rebuild the main building, which serves the local community and campers with a mini-mart store. The building also houses a recreation hall, game room, restrooms, showers, and laundry facility for the camper’s use.
In 1983, the campground had only 60 campsites. The Smorey family added another 100 sites to the campground prior to the Chilson family purchasing the campground in October 1999.
The Chilsons have continued to expand the campground, adding ten 50-amp sites, two Deluxe Cabins, a Camping Cabin, a mini golf course, a Jumping Pillow, new playgrounds, and sewer service to all seasonal campsites and 23 additional overnight campsites, Wi-Fi, and cable TV to all full-hookup overnight and seasonal campsites.
In 2010, the Chilsons joined Kampgrounds of America, adding their park to North America’s largest and best known camping organization. KOA now has more than 500 campgrounds across the United States and Canada. According to owner Tim Chilson, the campground will continue to evolve to meet the needs of campers and RVers.
“As the technology changes and RVing changes, we have to expand our infrastructure not only to continue to meet our customers expectations, but to exceed them,” he said. “And, we need to maintain KOA quality standards, which stays at the forefront of those demands.”
Meadville KOA is rated in the top of campgrounds nationally. In addition, camper reviews have helped the Chilsons achieve the KOA Founder’s and President’s Awards again for 2018. “We’re already booking this year for many of our summer and holiday weekends. We have campers who stay with us every season who have their sites already reserved, and the phone is still ringing,” Chilson said.
In addition, Chilson said that their seasonal camper numbers are up, but there are still a few seasonal sites available for 2018.
“Seasonal campers are people who park their RV at the campground for the entire summer,” Chilson said. “That way, they can drive more economical vehicles to the campground instead of towing, and save money on fuel. They get the maximum use of their RV for minimal costs and less work.”
The campground will be hosting a 40th Birthday Celebration Weekend on June 9.
“We’re inviting campers who’ve camped with us over the years to come and visit for the afternoon that weekend and stroll down memory lane with us,” Chilson said. “We’ll have photos, cake, and ice cream and some social time with our campers so they can visit with old friends and make new friends.”
While June 9th is the “official” campground party, Chilson said he and his staff plan to celebrate all summer long.
“As an example, our campers continue to support us by inviting their friends to come try Meadville KOA.,” he said. “Friends and family are still our biggest source of new camper referrals, and has been for the 18 years we’ve owned the park. This year, on Oct 14 & 15, we have a customer appreciation weekend and BOGO. When an existing camper brings a new camping family with them, each family gets one night free when they buy a night. It’s a great way to introduce their friends to Meadville KOA, and it’s a great way for us to thank them for doing that.”
The Meadville KOA invites current and past campers to visit the campground for the June 9 celebration. The cake and ice cream will be Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. Chilson added, “even if campers are no longer our camping customers for any reason, they are still part of the Meadville KOA Camping family. We sincerely hope that they will come enjoy this time with us.”
SOURCE: KOA press release