Del Rio taking an economic hit after Amistad rec area forced to shut down

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by James Muñoz / KENS 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @americasjim

kens5.com

Posted on October 4, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 4 at 6:55 PM

DEL RIO -- One of the main entrances at Amistad National Recreation Area is closed. National Park Rangers are taking turns guarding the barricades.

They're the lucky ones. Most of the workers, about 30, have been sent home.

"They're calling us accepted personnel and we have no promise of when we'll be paid," Chief Park Ranger Regina Klein Dissler said. "Those furloughed federal employees have no promise of ever being paid."

Byron Velvick owns Amistad Hotel Resort along Highway 90. He said he sent 20 workers home after a fishing tournament was canceled.

"This place, Del Rio, is a ghost town right now," Velvick said. "All the gas stations, the boat dealerships, the restaurants, the tackle stores, not just this hotel, but the hotels up and down 90, and even the whole city is really getting hammered by this."

That fishing tournament was to bring in about 250 law enforcement officers from San Antonio. The event was rescheduled for next month, but it will be hunting season and not near as many are expected to participate.

"We're dead, we're in limbo until the government decides to reopen the government," Velvick said.

The Del Rio Chamber of Commerce estimates this weekend alone the city will see an economic loss of $350,000.

A few fishing tournaments are canceled this weekend, and 20 more are planned through the end of the year, including the 5th Reel Thanks Tournament, which honors injured soldiers. All could be canceled if the shutdown is not lifted.

Amistad National Recreation Area receives up to 1.6 million visitors every year.

 

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