Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.

Op Ed

RV parking in Lake City
Time is of the essence to improve the image

When this issue of parking at Walmart overnight started, I was present at the Columbia County Commission meeting and present at the Lake City Council meeting. My first impression was Cecil Shaw's actions were not for the benefit of the community. Cecil Shaw was out for himself financially, so he could have RV's stay in his park or maybe others.

The thought of one's economic gain is the basis for a capitalistic society.  Mr. Shaw did not understand the total market place and the consequences of what would happen. He envisioned something far greater for himself.

Fortunately, the County Commissioners knew the Walmart property was not in county. This time the property was outside their realm of jurisdiction and they did not have to bear the total responsibility of a poor image for Columbia County.  Columbia County looses anyway, through no fault of its own, in this battle of whether or not to allow parking.

At the time, I did not know if Cecil Shaw was on the Tourist Development Council and now it does not matter. What is the concern at hand is to restore Lake City's and Columbia County's image.

What the Tourist Development Council and its staff have managed to build in the area of tourism is now being destroyed far quicker than it was built.

The Tourist Development Council could be called Tourist Destruction Council. This is food from which comic writers feed. Who knows, Jay Leno's staff writers may have already ingested this material.

My suggestion is to have Cecil Shaw removed from the Tourist Development Council.

The process for this is unknown to me. Maybe he could resign. Then put out a press release indicating he is no longer on the board.

Simultaneously, the City should consider the removal of the ordinance of not allowing overnight parking in the Walmart.

In the interim, maybe the local police can focus on the more important issues and situations in our community.

The world is reading about Lake City, as can be plainly seen in the media and on the web. The feedback is not positive. 

Time is of the essence to improve the image.  

Comments  (to add a comment go here)

On Feb 04, 2011, George from Orlando wrote:

Barbara, Your RV parking editorial is "right on." But allowing overnight RV parking at the local Super Walmart is only part of the solution. The town also needs to encourage the in-town private RV park to greatly increase its standards to lure back the RVers who have been driven away. (See http://www.rvparkreviews.com/regions/Florida/Lake_City.html for Lake City campground comments by RVers from all over the country).

We've been visiting Lake City in an RV for at least ten years. We use it as an overnight stop, because we like the town with it's restaurant row and nearby shopping. Unfortunately, the in-town campground became less and less appealing, until finally we just couldn't stay there any more. Last fall, we decided to try staying overnight at the nearby Walmart and were pleasantly surprised with the clean, safe facilities. We tried new restaurants, went shopping, and even chatted with the friendly Walmart security. We would not go back to the private campground unless major changes are made.

If Lake City wants to rebuild an RV friendly image, and turn lemons into lemonade, they need to not only reverse their "no overnight parking" ban, but need to assure that their town's private camping alternatives at least meet normal standards of appearance, safety and cleanliness.

George Hooper, Orlando


On Feb 5, Bob from Fleming Island wrote:

An article in the Lake City Reporter said Cecil Shaw, the owner of the EZ Stop RV Resort was a board member of Lake City’s Tourist Development Council.  If Shaw’s performance in the RV Parking Ban is any indication of his prowess at developing tourism in Lake City, I’m certainly missing something.  Lake City is probably now off the list of “Unfriendly RV Cities” but Mr. Shaw’s campground is still off limits for most of us.  I hope Lake City puts a short leash on Shaw before he alienates race fans just before Daytona’s big race, or bikers before Bike Week.

Bob Hines, Fleming Island


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