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Local News

October 6, 2013

Council ready to make dive in water park?

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council intends Tuesday to talk about, and perhaps act on, a proposal to bring a water park to the city.

The council is scheduled to consider an  agreement with Splash Kingdom and the developers behind the Greenville Towne Center project during Tuesday’s regular session agenda, starting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street. A work session is also set for 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Canton-based Splash Kingdom has proposed building the company’s fourth water park as part of the Greenville Towne Center.

Negotiations concerning the project, which have included the City of Greenville, Splash Kingdom and III:I Emerging Market Partners, which is developing the Towne Center along the Interstate 30 service road, have been ongoing for about a year.

The Splash Kingdom proposal is included among the items which are scheduled to be discussed by the council Tuesday under Section 551.072 of the Local Government Code, which allows the council to “deliberate the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property when such deliberations would have a detrimental effect on the position of the governmental body.”

Should the council decide to take action on the agreement Tuesday, it would return to open session to do so.

Two months ago, Greenville Board of Development President and CEO Greg Sims said the negotiations concerning a Splash Kingdom water park as part of the Greenville Towne Center development were close to being finalized.

The Council voted in March to approve a change in zoning for the Greenville Towne Center.

Developer Scott Steenson told the council at that time the initial work would involve the installation of infrastructure at the site; including entryways, pad sites and plumbing for the water park.

The Greenville Towne Center development would cover almost 63 acres along the interstate, bounded by Center Point Lane and the Roy Warren Parkway. The development is also expected to include retail and commercial businesses, private event/meeting halls and even multi-family tracts.

Officials with Splash Kingdom have indicated they want to be open for the 2014 season.

Splash Kingdom operates existing facilities in Canton and Shreveport, La. and a park which opened this past summer in Hudson Oaks, Texas.

The council voted in October 2012 to instruct Sims to pursue a memorandum of understanding agreement with Splash Kingdom, rather than Hawaiian Falls, which had also indicated it wanted to build in Greenville.

At that time, Mayor Steve Reid said while the offers from both parks were welcome, the council chose the to follow-up on the proposal from Splash Kingdom, as the company would contribute more toward the establishment of the park.

Splash Kingdom’s business model involves privately owned entertainment facilities in the $8 to $10 million value range that require some public incentive and/or infrastructure assistance in the short term; which could include land, public infrastructure, tax abatements and/or grants.

Splash Kingdom would provide approximately five full time positions and 125 seasonal part time positions.

A Splash Kingdom water park would be included on the property tax rolls, generating property and sales taxes as well as water/sewer city revenue and GEUS electric revenue.

Splash Kingdom would have 100 percent liability and responsibility for the park operations and future capital expansion projects.

The city would have no liability or responsibility for the operations in any way other than typical city inspections.

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