BERLIN – After nearly half a century under the guidance of the Parker family, Frontier Town, the popular western theme park and campground outside Ocean City, has been sold to one of the country’s largest RV resort companies.
Sun Communities, a national company that owns and operates more than 250 manufactured housing and RV communities, purchased Frontier Town and Fort Whaley officially on July 31.
“We look forward to continuing the legacy of the Parkers and enhancing assets going forward,” said Jon Colman, vice president of Sun Communities.
Frontier Town, a popular family attraction on Route 611 since it opened in 1959, first started as a Wild West show. Through the years, under the guidance of the Parker family, it evolved to include a water park and campground. Owner Mitch Parker declined to comment on the property’s sale.
Colman said his company acquired Castaway’s RV Resort, just a few miles down the road from Frontier Town, in 2014 and soon became interested in the nearby facility.
“We felt there was an opportunity to continue buying in the market and not be concerned with cannibalizing ourselves,” Colman said.
He pointed out Castaway’s and Frontier Town had existed in the same neighborhood for years and had both proven successful. Colman said the proximity of the sites to Ocean City was what made them attractive to Sun Communities.
“We target destination locations and Ocean City is certainly one of those,” he said.
Colman would not say what the company paid for Frontier Town and Fort Whaley but did say they accounted for two of the three campgrounds referenced in a July 30 earnings report. According to the report, Sun Communities had plans to acquire three RV communities containing 1,185 campsites for a combined purchase price of $76.2 million. Frontier Town has close to 600 sites while Fort Whaley has close to 200.
Because the sale occurred in the middle of the summer, Colman said his company asked Parker to continue management of the sites through the busy season.
“We worked it out with them we didn’t want to change anything because of folks being there this summer,” Colman said. “It’s business as usual until the end of the season.”
Toward the end of the year, Sun Communities will take over management. Colman said once officials are familiar with the property, they plan to make some improvements. He said it was too soon to say what they would be.
“We always reinvest in properties,” he said. “At this point, we have some things in mind that we haven’t disclosed.”
Judi Jefferson, a Delaware resident who camps at Frontier Town each spring and fall, said she’d love to see improvements but hopes the sale of the campground doesn’t mean it will change. She loves the family friendly atmosphere and array of activities available to campers.
“If it’s going to be improved, that’s great,” she said, “but anything they take away from Frontier Town would be horrible. Frontier Town is a great campground.”
Colman says his company bought the campground knowing it was successful. Sun Communities will continue to cater to those looking for an affordable family vacation.
“We feel the amenities are great and we will look for ways to enhance them,” he said. “It’s a successful operation and our goal is to just make it better.”