The Palomino RV Park at the Burrows-Hamilton Farm is getting closer to completion. On Monday night, the Cullman City Council approved an agreement with Johnston Sales, LLC to provide RV parts and service at the park, along with advertising services.
Johnston RV is a locally-owned RV dealership with sales centers in Cullman and Decatur. Under the agreement with the city, Johnston will provide some inventory at a store on the property and will also service vehicles as needed.
“If someone is having a problem with their air conditioning or something like that, we can give them a call and they’ll send someone out to fix it,” said Cullman Parks and Recreation and Tourism Director Zac Wood.
Also as part of the agreement, the city is allowing Johnston to have an outdoor display at the park, with the city receiving a commission of half a cent on every dollar of the sale.
Back in January, Johnston RV Center General Manager Nick Johnston told the Times that the RV the industry is booming. “It’s up year over year over year,” he said. “We went into business in January 2014 and had probably about eight units on the ground. Last year, we sold 880.”
RV owners span all generations, but Johnston said he’s seeing a shift. “It’s great for families. I think it really helps with younger families looking to do something together,” he said. “And the fact is you don’t have to go very far; some of the best trips folks take are closer to home.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic, RV sales nationwide have grown even more. According to the RV Industry Association, RV sales have increased by as much as 170 percent in some parts of the country.
The Burrows-Hamilton Farm property, located just off the Exit 305 interchange, was once the planned home of the International Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. The city purchased the land from the Burrow estate in 2011 for $1.5 million, and it includes a total of 170 acres split across the north and south sides of County Road 222.
In a previous Times article, City Attorney Roy Williams said the city’s purchase of the property from the Burrow family came with a request for the south portion of the property to be developed into a public recreational area, and the city has been working to fulfill that request since the purchase was completed.
“The purpose is to create family-oriented recreational facilities,” he said. “The main thing is that it’s for public use.”
The city’s decision to develop the land into a recreational area was met with protests from a few local residents because of plans to include the RV park on the land, but the RV park will only be taking up around five of the site’s 100-plus acres, Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs said.
He said the rest of the recreational area will include primitive camping and glamping sites, and there are existing trails and ponds that are being developed to offer hiking, biking, fishing and water recreation opportunities. A barn on the property may eventually become an event venue.
While it was originally anticipated that the 50-pad RV park would be open mid-July, that date has been pushed back. “Realistically, we’re probably still a month away,” said Wood.
The grand opening will come after all the paving is complete and gates installed, but the park has already hosted a few visitors, said Wood. In addition, they have received numerous calls from people interested in booking a pad.
The 50 sites include a cement pad, RV hookups and fireplaces of different designs. The park also features a few “buddy sites,” which are extra-large pads where two RVs can sit side-by-side. “You can face each other and open your awnings together,” said Wood.