Septuagenarians Frank and Connie Logan’s only “home” is their 37-foot-long RV, which they drove Tuesday onto Lot 52 of the The Vineyards Campground & Cabins.
The Logans were the first guests there since near-record rainfalls closed the flood-ravaged city site on Lake Grapevine in May.
“Of all the places we’ve been to in the country, this is the most accommodating,” said Connie Logan, 72. The couple sold everything about five years ago and have since been living on the road with their two dogs, Lacy and Sparky. “It’s always fun, clean and safe.”
The campsite, long a source of steady revenue and pride for the city, features lakeview cabins, full hookup RV sites, a nature trail, a sandy beach, a camp store and a playground.
We were doing really good before the rains hit.
Chris Smith, Grapevine deputy director of parks and recreation
But it and other businesses on the lake had to close six months ago because of floodwaters, essentially ruining the usually busy summer.
“We were doing really good before the rains hit,” said Chris Smith, Grapevine deputy director of parks and recreation.
After a cleanup that cost more than $200,000, the campground reopened at capacity Tuesday, just in time for Thanksgiving.
Grapevine campgrounds generated more than $2 million in fiscal 2014.
The Logans lived in Naples, Fla., before wanderlust struck. Frank, a retired plumbing contractor, and Connie enjoy coming to North Texas to visit their two daughters and seven grandchildren.
“I love to kayak, the older kids like to play soccer and volleyball, and the youngest kids like the playground,” Connie said of the amenities available at The Vineyards, which they have been visiting for nearly two decades. “We all like to roast marshmallows at the campground’s fireplace.”
Moneymaker for city
For fiscal 2014, which ended Sept. 30, 2014, the city collected more than $2 million from camping fees, said Randy Sell, lake parks and events manager. That figure fell to less than $1 million in fiscal 2015.
“We didn’t generate hardly any revenue after the rains came,” Sell said.
36 Rainfall for Grapevine from January through early June, more than average for the entire year.
From January through early June, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport recorded almost 36 inches of rain, more than average for the entire year. So far this year, DFW has recorded 50.75 inches, which is No. 3 all time in North Texas.
The flooding created problems across the region, but cities close to Lake Grapevine were among the hardest hit.
Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate and Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden signed disaster declarations in June after Tropical Depression Bill dumped several inches of rain and overflowed Lake Grapevine.
A year ago, the lake was 56.7 percent full. In May, it was 16 feet above capacity. It remains full.
Millions in damage
The Vineyards was just one of many area businesses, roads, playgrounds, marinas, youth sports fields, golf clubs and other sites that have been affected.
Most of the damage was around Lake Grapevine, where parks and more than two dozen roads wound up underwater.
Flood damage was almost all on public property. Most private property, including nearby homes, was not affected because of the land buffer around the Army Corps of Engineers lake and safeguards around the spillway.
$4 million Estimated damage costs “overall for parks and rec” so far.
Liz Dimmick, Grapevine’s emergency management coordinator, has been making regular appearances at City Council meetings to provide flooding updates.
On Monday, she estimated costs “overall for parks and rec” at about $4 million so far.
Some things feared to be complete losses turned out not to be once the water receded.
“A lot of the grass ended up growing back,” she said.
The city has been hard at work, she said, not only repairing but in some cases using the disaster as an opportunity to tear down and replace or update damaged sites with better alternatives. Debris cleanup is nearly complete.
“The Vineyards was a priority,” Dimmick said.
Organized volunteer cleanups were an enormous help in aiding to the reopening of The Vineyards Campground & Cabins.
City spokeswoman Mona Q. Burk
The campground closed May 22. Meadowmere Park remains closed until further notice; however, the Meadowmere boat ramp is open. Rockledge Park has reopened.
“Organized volunteer cleanups were an enormous help in aiding the reopening of The Vineyards Campground & Cabins,” city spokeswoman Mona Q. Burk said. “The cabins were not affected during the flooding, as they were moved to a temporary dry area away from the lake prior to the rising water encroaching upon them.”
The campground store and the front-entry gatehouse flooded, as well as picnic tables, the parking lot and the playground equipment.
New and improved campground
Special steps were taken to get The Vineyards operational:
▪ A temporary gatehouse was installed while a new one is being built.
▪ The original pavilion has been removed, and construction of a larger one will begin this winter.
▪ City staffers rebuilt all electrical panels and pedestals inside the park.
▪ Seven asphalt RV sites have been poured in concrete, widened and extended.
▪ All roads and campsites have been repaved and sealed.
▪ All cabins have been reinstalled; new eco-friendly decks are being constructed for each.
Sell said The Vineyards is a major draw because it is a wooded lakefront site with great amenities conveniently located in the Metroplex with its big-city advantages.
“People like the way it feels,” Sell said. “We didn’t realize how popular it was until we starting getting so many offers to help restore it and heard from people who couldn’t wait to get back to the campground.”
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
If you go
To check availability for the coming months, visit VineyardsCampground.com.