Lake Travis Businesses Revamped

Beth Rozacky

     With more sunshine and warm weather forecasted in the coming days and weeks, most students are turning their attention away from their studies and towards the impending months of summer.  As vacation time approaches, the goings-on of Lake Travis are becoming a more pressing concern for the students of Cedar Park. Renovations at summertime hot-spots are affecting student plans beyond the entertainment sphere.  The new changes taking place at such stomping grounds as the Oasis and Volente Beach are also affecting employment options.

     The Oasis restaurant has been a staple of the central Texas landscape for years. Since 1982 the Oasis’s reputation as the “Sunset Capital of Texas” has brought in tons of business to the previously remote Lake Travis area.  When the restaurant burned down because of lightning striking the wooden decks, management used the opportunity to rebuild the Oasis into a bigger and better version of the once low-key lake haunt.

     “I work at the Oasis’s main gift shop,” Brianna Goulet, senior, said.  “I’ve only worked there a month but I’ve already been to some of the new developments.”

     Reconstruction originally encompassed rebuilding the decks with less-flammable concrete and steel and expanding the original building up and out. When these repairs were complete, new parking lots and garages were also added to accommodate the increased seating capacity. In recent months the Oasis has expanded even further, adding a new dance hall and special event spaces along with additional wings and dining areas. This upsizing created an opportunity for students to find rare employment options in a notoriously down economy, which they took advantage of over the summer of 2010 and the beginning of this school year.  Recent months have seen another explosion of activity at the Oasis. Since November of 2010 two new restaurants, Soleil and Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que, have opened their doors and students are quickly taking up the available jobs.

     “Uncle Billy’s has a really cool vibe and always has great music acts,” said Goulet.

     In addition to jobs in food-service many students are also picking up applications for the new retail sector on Oasis property.  Construction is underway on a new shopping center type development which will contain retail spaces covering 30,000 square feet. Office buildings and additional parking are also in the works. However, there is a slight downside to these new additions.

     “The development is a really good idea and it’s good for business, but the new buildings, decks and stores take away from the beauty of the lake and the nature around the restaurant,” said Goulet. “The view is a big reason why people come, and all the new things kind of cover it up.”

     The Volente Beach Water Park, another Lake Travis regular hotspot, is experiencing changes of its own. The former waterslide paradise is updating its equipment and expanding its appeal beyond its current clientele. The newly dubbed Volente Beach Shore Club (VBSC) will now offer an adult pool, with accoutrements such as a swim up bar, in addition to its many kiddie pools. In addition to these aquatic updates three volleyball courts and even upscale dining restaurant will be added to the park. Luckily, the VBSC will still allow patrons to bring their own picnics and will still rent out boats and wave runners from the offshore docks.  Like the Oasis, the VBSC is hiring. However, instead of looking for lifeguards as in past years, the VBSC will be looking to stock its new fine dining restaurant with fresh staff.

     Though both these institutions have long been essential elements of any summer vacation, the recent and coming changes can only improve. With the summer heating up, students are sure to flock  these locales, whether for enjoyment or employment. Job applications can be found on their     respective official websites.