EAST MANATEE -- Stephen Simone has built factories all over the world. But after 30 years building for others, Simone, along with his wife, Deborah, and daughter Lisa, decided to build something for themselves.
Within the next couple weeks, the family plans to open Timberlane RV Park & Resort on State Road 64 in East Manatee County.
"We are not afraid of building or starting it," Stephen Simone said. "We've done a lot of building projects. It's just another project."
When the RV park opens this month, it will have 49 sites and a 1-acre lake. But the Simones plan to add more sites on their 12.5 acres to have a total of 108 units within the next year in addition to a recreation center, pool, laundry facilities and a second lake. The Simones planted more than 500 trees and shrubs and left many of the original trees in the park, which will use city water and city sewage.
The RV park, less than a mile east of Interstate 75, has been a long time coming. After Al Thomas, the previous owner, got close to opening the park but never did, the Simones closed on the property in October and have since been working 10 to 12 hour days to get the park ready. The Simones wanted to keep the Timberlane name because of its name recognition with the county and as a way to honor the previous owner but added the resort to the name because of the amenities the family plans to add.
Manatee County officials "are happy someone is here to finish it," Stephen Simone said.
The RV world is a new venture for the Simones as is Manatee County. Stephen and Deborah live in Duck Key in the middle of the Florida Keys, and Lisa moved from Southern California to open the RV park. But the Simones are familiar with building projects as the family has previously built boats, homes and cars.
"We just love the Sarasota Bradenton area," Lisa Simone said. "There is a lot to offer here. ... We grew up moving so to me it was a good opportunity, great investment."
Once the park receives its certificate of occupancy from the coun
ty, Lisa Simone will live in a mobile home on-site. Lisa, who owned a business in California, said by living on-site, it will allow her to learn the business and the area so she will be able to recommend places to visitors.
The park is near housing developments and is just north of Lakewood Ranch so the Simones are hoping that when family members from up north come to visit family in Bradenton, they will stay at Timberlane.
"This location is what we liked about it," Stephen Simone said. "It is a developing area. There are a lot of homes in the area and lots of shopping in the area."
While there are other RV parks in Bradenton and Sarasota, the Simones are hoping by having one of the only new parks in years with a new upbeat and fresh vibe they will attract visitors.
"It is a big family project," Lisa Simone said. "We are working together. ... We are looking forward to opening."
There will be daily, weekly and monthly rates available at the park and there will be a 15 percent discount offered until the amenities are completed in the fall.
For information, contact Lisa Simone at email@example.com or 714-642-6964.
Claire Aronson, University Parkway/Sarasota reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.