RV resort in downtown Fort Smith set to open in August

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 2,395 views 

Riverfront RV Resort on Riverfront Drive in Fort Smith is expected to be open by end of summer. Phil White, who owns the facility with Richard Griffin with Griffin Properties, said the resort was expected to be open early June, but supply chain issues caused delays.

“We’re looking at August, which is the end of the season, but that’s not bad,” White said.

He said along with finishing construction on the 27-acre park, they are tweaking some design elements and reviewing applications for a manager.

When the park was originally pitched to the Fort Smith Central Business Improvement District (CBID) in 2021, it was estimated to cost about $2.5 million to develop. Griffin noted at the time that they already owned the land. In April 2022, a building permit for work on the park issued by the City of Fort Smith, listed the cost of the park at $5 million. White said inflation had caused a significant increase in the cost to complete the park, but would not give a total dollar amount.

The resort, which will have a park-like setting and will include a manager on site who will have an apartment, office and retail space, will be located just south of 330 acres the city purchased from Kansas City Southern Railroad Company for soft surface trails. The initial plans called for 107 paved RV parking spaces, 12 tent spaces, a swimming pool, restroom facilities and a playground. The resort’s website lists 100 RV campsites (all sizes) and 10 tent campsites.

“This is a resort, not an RV park. A lot of people think of an RV park like a trailer park, where people can set up their RVs and live. This isn’t that. There are no permanent spots. It’s a resort,” White said.

The website states the park will have a gated entry, handicap accessible bathrooms and showers, wi-fi service across the property, an outdoor playground and exercise area, a swimming pool, dog park playground, coin laundry facility and a general store with convenience items. Other amenities include a horseshoe pit, pickleball courts, a porch-swing conversation area with fire-ring, and a large pavilion with fireplace and grills.

Each of the tent camping spots will have picnic tables and the tent camping area will have 20 AMP, 110-volt receptacles along with easy access to fresh drinking water and a kitchen utensils wash up area. The park will feature a private boat ramp with access to the Arkansas River and boat parking area along with a boat dock and fish cleaning station. The resort will have daily trash pickup service.

“My wife and I have been RVing for 12 years. I’ve seen a lot of RV parks. This is going to be one of the nicest private RV resorts in the state. Some of our state parks have some very nice ones, but this will be able to compete with those too,” White said.

Reservations are not yet being accepted for the resort. White said the reservation website would go live once an official opening date was determined. The website does not yet list the cost of site rentals.