Easing the Flood of Beds in Fort Stockton

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

Hotel and motel owners in Fort Stockton say they're drowning because there are just too many beds in town. On Tuesday, they took the issue to the city's economic development corporation to figure out how to stem the flood.

Less traffic means fewer tourists and loads of empty beds in Fort Stockton. The city already has a lot of hotel rooms for its size and as more hotels set up shop, it only gets worse.

"I saw it coming and so I approached our past city inspector and asked if there was a way to control hotels coming into this time and at that point in time he said no," Hotel Owner, Rachel Patel, said. "But when someone brought this idea of a moratorium to me I figured I'd go as a business owner and present it to CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) and from there go to the City Council and approach them."

Patel said about 40 percent of her family's hotel rooms are full, that's about half as much as last year.

Now she and other owners want a moratorium.

"It's just a way of protecting what we have in Fort Stockton," Patel said. "The businesses we have, you know, we don't need to add more when other businesses are suffering and are unable to make ends meet."

If they can't get that, they want the city to raise fees to prevent more hotels from moving in as well as a couple other ideas thrown in.

During the meeting, the group also discussed ways to bring in more tourists they hope by fixing up historical sights, like the Fort, will do just that.

"We are not a tourist destination, what our goal is to do is to have someone who's driving down I-10 show up at noon and have things in a condition where they want to show up and look at them," Doug May, Executive Director of the Fort Stockton Economic Development Corporation, said. "We want to promote that so they'll stay an extra three or four hours and spend the night."

Patel's hopeful it'll all work out if the city and the industry team up on reporting in Fort Stockton.

Before these proposals of a moratorium or a fee hike can be put in place, the City Council will have to sign off on it.