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Barnett Shale factors into city’s growth

By Julie Neal | Published Thursday, April 7, 2011

PIONEER WOMEN - A-plus RV park owner Paula Gardner (right) and receptionist B.J. Burks stand in front of the park that has exploded in tenants since its opening last year. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Newcomers to Wise County caused a population boom in the southern part of the county, but Alvord followed the growing population trend with help from the Barnett Shale.

Total Explorations moved their business into downtown Alvord in late 2009, expecting only to stay a few months.

“We move around,” said Glenda Rhoades, Total Explorations employee. “I’ve lived in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. We usually stay about eight months, but we’ve been here a year and four months.”

Census 2010The seismic permits company brought along several people from other states to live in this lucrative oil and gas area.

Rhoads said her family has lived in several states and towns before Alvord, but ther son has become more attached to this town.

“We like it,” Rhoades said. “We have met a lot of friendly people.”

A significant contributor to the 324-person increase in Alvord’s population is A-plus RV Park.

The number of housing units soared from 434 to 549, and the town’s numbers jumped from 1,007 in 2000 to 1,334 in 2010.

Paula Gardner owns and manages the RV park on Business U.S. 81/287 in Alvord. She and her husband opened the park in January 2010 and count Richard and Barbie Elmore, Total Exploration employees, as tenants.

“We typically work the Barnett Shale,” Richard said. “Our jobs are focused around Forestburg, Sunset, Chico and Bowie, so it’s pretty centrally located.”

Richard said the cost of living is cheaper in Alvord, and he knows several other people from oil and gas companies who make their temporary home in Alvord.

“Most people in the oil field work 12 to 14 hours a day and get called out at night for different things,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to just be local and run right back to the location.”

With constant moving, A-plus RV Park offers a low maintenance option for residents. “You don’t have the responsibility that you have with a house like caring for a yard,” Gardner said.

The park offers 47 pad sites with 10 reserved for overnighters. All 37 extended-stay filled up spots quicker than Gardner expected.

“We weren’t expecting a whole lot of people to come in, and we were almost full about June (of 2010),” Gardner said. “As long as their job is going strong, they will be in this area.

As Alvord continues to grow, Gardner said they are looking to offer a boarding option for people traveling with horses.

“I know Alvord is growing a lot, and I think it will help when the grocery store opens up,” Gardner said. “It’s also helped having Dollar General here, and then the school system is supposed to be really good here, so that makes a difference, too.”

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