On Thursday, October 18, North Little Rock city leaders, local business leaders, longtime RV park supporters and many other friends and community members helped the Downtown Riverside RV Park (DTRSRV Park) celebrate its tenth anniversary. North Little Rock Mayor Joe A. Smith, former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays, and North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau’s President & CEO Bob Major spoke. Mayor Smith thanked Sheila Bullerwell for managing the park for the past ten years.
“When people pull in here to visit our city, their first impression is Sheila,” said Mayor Smith. “And she has done a marvelous job.”
DTRSRV Park is owned by the City of North Little Rock and managed by the North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (North Little Rock CVB), which estimates that the park has had a local economic impact of $15.87 million. If you count the RV rally that started it all – a mammoth 918-RV convention with 6,850 people – that bumps up to $16.5 million.
Mayor Hays, former North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce President Terry Hartwick, Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) member Harry Hastings and local business leader Steve Owen were instrumental in bringing FMCA’s Regional Rally to North Little Rock in September 2008.
“That five-day event showed the potential for a permanent RV park that would attract RVers from all over the U.S.,” Major said. “Ten years later, the park has transformed into a must-stop not just for American RVers, but international visitors as well.”
More than 113,000 nights of RVs over the past ten years mean thousands of RVers from all 50 states and several countries. The success of the park shows no sign of stopping: occupancy has increased by 34 percent over the past five years. By 2020, the park is expected to pass the mark of 8,000 RVs per year.
“RVers don’t just come here, they go out to dinner, and that’s what we want them to do. We want them to use our entertainment district, we want them to use our mall, we want them to buy our gasoline, and by golly, they do that,” Mayor Smith said.
The park earned a 2018 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for consistently positive reviews and is currently ranked best specialty lodging in North Little Rock on TripAdvisor. In September 2018, the park won a Prism Award from the Arkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for its website redesign.
“The park is an unusual experience for RVers, who mostly stay in secluded, natural areas,” Major said. “Here, guests can park next to the Arkansas River, watch the river bridges light up at night, ride their bikes on the Arkansas River Trail and jump on a streetcar to dining and entertainment – all without having to unhitch their Jeep.”