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Large RV park being built near Columbia expected to host both vacationers, temp workers

Big Rig Friendly RV Park

Construction on the Big Rig Friendly RV Park near Columbia includes the installation of electrical connections. Provided

COLUMBIA — A large RV park is being built near Columbia, adding spaces to a market that its builder says has more demand than places to stop.

The first phase of Big Rig Friendly RV park is nearly complete and expected to open in March, said Bill McLeod, one of the co-owners of the project.

It is under construction just off Gardners Terrace Road in Sandy Run, south of Columbia about one mile from the S.C. State Farmers Market. 

Its initial phase will have about 95 sites, with the plans including 270 spots when the park is completed, likely in the summer of 2023.

The RV park's name should be attractive for internet searches, McLeod said, since the owners of the largest towed RVs search out sites that are big enough for the larger, more modern campers.

Many of the sites at the new park will be able to handle campers that are 40 feet in length and are towing vehicles behind them, McLeod said.

Many sites also are pull-through, meaning that such big campers won't have to be backed in and out of spots, he said.

When completed, the site will have such vacation amenities as a pool, pavilion and a playground.

Columbia does not have much space for RVs to park, McLeod said: Its RV campgrounds usually have few open spots available.

McLeod believes being at the junction of three interstates makes the area an attractive option for RV travelers who are crossing the Southeast.

The majority of the park's customers, however, will be not travelers but monthly lease-holders, McLeod expects.

More people are using their RVs as a full-time residence, especially temporary workers who travel the country, McLeod said.

Traveling nurses, for example, are more often living out of RVs than renting rooms.

"They are trying to give themselves enough room so they have privacy," McLeod said.

Another major potential client for the campsite is a major nearby employer: Amazon, which operates a huge warehouse operation just off I-77 in Lexington County.

Amazon employers what it calls CamperForce, a seasonal staff that consists largely of RV owners, often semi-retired people who pick up hours in its warehouses. 

In its pitch for CamperForce workers, Amazon offers benefits including an allowance of $120 per week to cover RV park costs.

When Amazon needs warehouse workers, it will contact a nearby RV park and reserve a whole section of spaces for several months, McLeod said.

"Absolutely we hope it is a big potential customer," McLeod said.

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