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Desert Scene
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In 2005, KOFA Ko-op celebrated its 20th Anniversary.  To celebrate, original members of the park wrote an outline of events, time-lines, and points of interest to new members gathered.  Here are some of their words...  

Introduction:

Escapees Logo - Click for the SKP WebsiteA notice was put in the fall 1984 National newsletter asking those of like mind to meet at the marine base in Yuma on January 9, 1985 at the NCO Club.  Because the initiator, Bud Ball and many of the Escapees were retired military, he was able to obtain a room for meeting.

The response was overwhelming to all who came, especially Bud who never dreamed of such sincere interest in a co-op here.  He brought the meeting to order at 1:00pm and it were under way.  First he explained the purpose of the meeting, then brought the greetings and good wishes for success from Escapees founders, Kat and Joe Peterson.  They also sent the Escapee National Directive needed to start a co-op.  The first of which was to start a chapter.

It was in the fall of 1984 that Bud Ball, SKP #624 met with Escapees founders Kay and Joe Peterson.  Permission was received to see if there was any interest in starting a co-op in the Yuma area. Bud posted a notice in the Escapee Newsletter and Yuma newspapers.  The first meeting was held on January 9, 1985 ..

A committee was then appointed to start looking for land for our co-op.  Over 100 SKPS signed up that day professing an interest.  The story of their trial and tribulations can be read in the Kofa Park ten year history book in the ko-op library.

We met as a chapter every two weeks to update and discuss the ko-op progress.  At the same time, the chapter was doing its business.  Our meeting place changed to the Southern Mesa Campground.  Bylaws were written following the National Directive developing guidelines and rules for our rallies and meetings.

Early Picture of 17th St before paving
17th Street
Click picture to enlarge

' Those who built the park term themselves as 'the Originals.'  They were all there on the day that a man by the name of Bud Ball called a meeting at the Marine Base to see if there was interest in building a park.' - January 9, 1985 .

Everyone worked hard, and many were not use to the hard physical labor after all, most were retired.  But the work got done, and in the process so did a lot of fun and games amongst the originals.  There was also a lot of arguments.  In fact, virtually every decision being made resulted in an argument.  What do you expect when you take a group of strangers, from all parts of the country, and put them together to build an RV park.  In the end, it all worked out with no hard feelings.  There was a common goal - a great park.


          Excerpts from the Minutes of Co-op Meeting - Jan 16, 1985

... state RV park requirements are less stringent than the County RV subdivision requirements.  We may get by with 'chip & seal' on co-op roads.  Both require a minimum of 32' width.  Washrooms & showers must be provided no farther than 500' from the boondock/retreat area.  The water well may require one acre of underground unobstructed by services.  A proposal was made to use such area for dry storage.

Aerial view, laying out lots
Lot Layout
Click picture to enlarge


The hope was to purchase 15 acres near an intersection but not on a corner to eliminate the cost of maintenance on two county roads.  We will have to pay maintenance on the one in front of the co-op.  

We hope to place a 120' by 160' for clubhouse, etc. in the center of the property.  We will have 160 40' x 60' lots, six of which will be subdivided into ten lots 20' x 60' for the boondock/retreat area.  Walkways will be every 5 or 6 lots

First payment for lots was $1,000 with one or two more of $500.

The Real Estate agents think we may be able to get land between $3500 and $5000 per acre.

 

Brick wall front
Brick Entrance Wall
Click picture to enlarge

To comply with National's directive and protocol, a Chapter first had to be formed.  The first officers voted in were Bud Ball - President, T. Jones - Vice President, Phyllis Ellswood - Secretary and Ed Truesdale - Treasurer.  Thus Chapter 7 - later named the Roadrunners - was formed.

It was a formidable task to find a suitable piece of land for a 152 member and 10 boondock/retreat spots.  That was the number required by the national organization at that time.  However, in just one week, an ieal spot was found.  The land selected was brought up at the next meeting and was agreeable to all pending the necessary legal matters that go with a land purchase.


Excerpts from the Minutes of Co-op Meeting -
February 1, 1985

...We are proud to announce that your founding officers have selected a parcel of land to be the SKP Co-op/Retreat of Yuma. This is 15 acres has been offered at $3,000 per acre and an agreement has been signed.

We anticipate the development cost of each lot to be $2,000 per SKP family unit.

Lots will not be assigned at this time.  We will have a drawing by all members to determine the order for drawing the lots.  Then, in numerical order, each family unit will draw the lot number they will occupy.  

 

National Escapees sent a several page long and detailed procedure to help with the complexity of issues that come with setting up a park, before the actual labor begins.  The biggest hassle seemed to be getting permits from the County Boards.

In May of 1985, after many member and Board meetings in just 4 short months, the land had been purchased, permits obtained.  The land was purchased for $44,666.00.

The co-op had to guarantee the County that they would put in a paved road from 3E to 4E, another County rule.  The park was responsible for 50% of the cost: $58,058.00. It was not put in right away, but once done, it was taken over and maintained by the County.

Aerial view
KOFA Ko-op Park
Click picture to enlarge

The engineers finished the park layout, the County approved the water wells.  There are two, wells each about 180' deep to bypass any ground contaminates.  Cost of the wells was $26,353.00.  By August, Arizona Power ( APS ) ran electrical lines along County 17th to the edge of the park property.  The rest of the equipment needed (meter boxes etc.) were purchased from APS at a bargain price.  Kofa 'crews' put in the electrical lines to save money.  The water tank was installed by October 1985 and basic construction proceeded rapidly.

While construction of the park started in the fall of 1985, it did not become official until the lot drawing on February 4, 1986.

More early KOFA Ko-op pictures:

Click on any picture to enlarge it
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