Winter Texans, RV enthusiasts, South Padre Island lovers and locals alike will be able to reserve spots at the Isla Blanca RV Park starting Jan. 15.

Reservations had been on hold for the summer months of 2018 because of planned renovations to Isla Blanca Park, including upgrades to the RV park.

Earlier this week, the Cameron County Commissioners Court approved its new policy.

County Judge Eddie Trevino said that the changes are meant to make the reservation policy more fair.

“For decades, individuals had monopoly on a space,” Trevino said. “What was happening before is when people check in in May, they reserve for next May.”

Precinct 2 Commissioner Alex Dominguez also believes this system will be better and more equal for parkgoers.

“We’re not doing this to be mean to anybody,” Dominguez said. “We’re just trying to give everyone a fair chance to enjoy our parks.”

Now, parkgoers will have to wait until Jan. 15 each year to reserve spots in Isla Blanca.

Also, commissioners approved limiting reservations during the peak summer season for up to three months and during the off season for up to six months. And, the county is doing away with weekly rental rates, limiting reservations to a daily or monthly basis.

But come Jan. 15, 2018, the Cameron County Parks Department expects it will be deluged with reservation requests, which have been put on hold since last May — a source of contention for many longtime RV park visitors who sought to claim their spots for 2018.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Sofia Benavides said there are lots of people waiting to reserve for the summer of 2018.

“I feel that maybe you’re going to be swamped with people who are upset,” Benavides said.

Cameron County Parks Director Javier Vega said his employees are expecting just that.

“We will be swamped,” Vega said. “It’s going to be chaotic and hectic that day.”

Making matters more complicated is that a planned online reservation system won’t be available for this year’s summer season. That won’t be ready until late April or early March, Vega said.

Reservations can only be made over the phone or by visiting the office at Isla Blanca Park.

“To reserve, they have to call our reservation office or come into our reservation office,” Vega said, prompting Benavides, who represents South Padre Island, to say she has apprehensions about it.

“We’re going to have to open it (up to reservations) one day or another,” Vega said.

Another big change to the RV park policies include no longer providing RV park visitors with two paper entrance passes. Now, anyone staying one month or longer will have to purchase those.

“They can buy up to two,” Vega said, explaining that change stems from people abusing the paper passes by sharing or selling them.

Also, RV park visitors will not be able to use generators, gas or diesel, unless there is an emergency situation or power outage.

All the policy changes take effect Jan. 1.

By MARK REAGAN Staff Writer