Renovations at Cassells Boykin Park could fuel the local economy

By Holley Nees - bio | email

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - "People just quit coming here, so that's where we are," Joyce Renfro said.

She hopes the renovations at Cassells Boykin Park will keep her shop open.

"Maybe we'll get some of the swimmers and campers back from that area," she said.

After 35 years, she knows what brings in business.

"People traveling are looking at spots to stop at, unique spots," she explained.

When a 200 ton boat ramp is part of the park remodel, the county said the spot will be nothing less than unique.

James Slack is Chairman of the Lake Enhancement Task Force for the Angelina County Chamber of Commerce.  He said, "I had trouble sleeping last night, I had an adrenaline rush from watching that construction.  It was quite a project."

Renfro hopes tourism will stem from the renovations.

"We don't have any industry here, so we have to depend on the tourist trade, for a shop like this anyway," said Renfro.

Her regulars do still come around, but she admitted, " far as picking up any new people, well they're just not here."

The county hopes the remodel will change that.

"Cassells Boykin is going to be a huge draw for South Angelina County and all of East Texas we think," Slack said.

Renfro is counting on it.

She said, "Of course, the economy being like it is, there's nothing in a gift shop that's really a necessity, [it] just makes us feel good."

Renfro knows nothing is picture perfect, but thinks Cassells Boykin may just be enough to nail down some business.

The county said once construction is finished, events can take place that could bring in thousands of people, meaning more customers for business-owners like Renfro.

Slack said there are plans for a pavilion, changing and concession areas, hiking trails, and camp sites.   It will be a major recreation area when it is completed.

The park is located on the northern part of Lake Sam Rayburn near Zavalla.