Despite damage Kingsland resort opens doors for displaced
A Kingsland resort on the Llano River devastated by rising waters earlier this week is dedicated to not only rebuilding what was lost but helping the community they’re a part of.
Valentine Lakeside, operated by Pat Muller and Susan Patten, has been a summer staple for many regular families for the better part of a century. The resort has been the site of many big life moments like engagements, weddings, catching a fish for the first time, sharing a boat ride and even honeymoons have all taken place on the waterfront property.
“I thought, no way is the water going to rise that high,” said Mueller recalling the rising Llano earlier this week.
On Tuesday, Muller watched the mighty river take away part of her business. “I’m pretty sure the entire bottom of this lake is in my yard,” laughed Muller.
Valentine Lakeside lost boats, jet skis, a dock more than 60 years old and the beloved fish house where many youngsters learned to bait a hook and cast a line for the first time. The storm forced a number of uprooted trees and “a beach” amount of sand from the river. Muller estimates she lost $200,000 in value, Patten said that estimate is conservative.
No matter the loss, none of it seems to really bother Muller or Patten all that much. “It hurts, it stinks, it really does, but it’s just stuff. Families will continue to come and make memories here,” said Muller. “The reason we love this business is because of the people and the memories and the moments.”
Since Tuesday, Muller opened up some of her vintage cabin doors to those who no longer have a livable roof over their head. She said they’re charging only what those displaced can afford. Muller said it’s the right thing to do. “We came here to make a life, not a living, there’s a big difference,” said Muller.
In the months ahead for Kingsland, clean up and repairs will consume everyday life for many in the small Llano County town. Now that the FM 2900 bridge is out and the county commissioner estimates it could take a year to build back, getting from Kingsland to other parts of the Hill Country takes much more time. Muller fears someone may have a medical emergency in the future and will need to take a much longer route to get to the hospital in Marble Falls.
But Muller also feels Kingsland is much stronger than any storm. “This town is strong and resilient and we will come back and be bigger and better than ever,” she said.
A crowdfunding account was started to help Valentine Lakeside get back to where it once was.