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Local News

December 13, 2012

Council takes vote on Splash Kingdom

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council voted Tuesday night to seek a formal agreement to bring a Splash Kingdom water park to Greenville.

Following an executive session at the close of Tuesday’s regular agenda, the Council returned to the open session and approved a letter of intent to enter into the agreement with the Canton-based company, to build a park as part of a proposed shopping center development.

But Greenville Board of Development Chairman/CEO Greg Sims, who has been handling the negotiations with Splash Kingdom on behalf of the city, said the Council’s vote does not guarantee the water park will open in Greenville anytime soon.

“It is just a memorandum of understanding,” Sims said, adding it is another step toward a formal agreement between the two sides. “It just states the things we are going to have to do, the incentives we are going to have to bring to the table, in dealing with the developer and the development, Greenville Towne Center.”

A copy of the resolution approved by the Council Tuesday was not immediately available, as it had not yet been signed by Mayor Steve Reid.

“It allows us to work together under our understanding,” Sims said of the letter, which also details, “where and what land is involved in relation to the Greenville Towne Center.”

Sims said the letter of intent would hopefully result in a formal water park development agreement.

Splash Kingdom is wanting to build their fourth water park development in Northeast Texas, to go along with their existing facilities in Canton and Shreveport, La. and a park under construction in Hudson Oaks, Texas.

The Council voted in October 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, 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.

The Hawaiian Falls Adventure Park which had been planned for Greenville was to be located on approximately 14 acres at the eastern end of the Towne Center, which is under development by III:I Emerging Market Partners (EMP) in Plano and is expected to stretch along the eastbound Interstate 30 service road, starting just east of the Home Depot parking lot, with Center Point Lane as its western boundary.

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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