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October 7, 2012

Water park, water park everywhere?

GREENVILLE — Now there are two water park companies interested in locating in Greenville.

The Greenville City Council is expected to hear a proposal Tuesday from Splash Kingdom of Canton, which has approached the Greenville Board of Development about expanding their operations locally.

Board of Development President Greg Sims said he intends to present the project to the Council during an executive session as part of Tuesday’s meeting, with the regular agenda starting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street.

 Should the Council take any action on the proposal, it would return to open session to do so. A work session is also set for 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The proposal from Splash Kingdom apparently differs quite a bit from the plan offered last month by Hawaiian Falls.

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 Hudson Oaks, Texas.

Sims said 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.

“Splash Kingdom would render property values to the appraisal district,” Sims explained. “Splash Kingdom would be a taxable private entity including generating property and sales tax for the taxing jurisdictions, 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. No location has been selected at this time.”

The Hawaiian Falls Adventure Park planned for Greenville would be located on approximately 14 acres at the eastern end of the Towne Center Development.

The water park rides — including slides, lazy rivers and other attractions — would be open during the summer months, while the Adventure Park — including zip lines and a ropes course — would be open year round. Hawaiian Falls parks are said to provide up to 200 part-time jobs per season.

 The water park would cost about $11.5, of which Hawaiian Falls would pay $1.5 million, and the adventure park would cost approximately $1.5 million, with the company putting up $500,000 of the cost.

 The remaining amount would be paid for through the issuance of bonds, in an election which would likely be held next May. The company would be responsible for all operating costs and managing the property.

The company plans on making annual improvements to the park, again splitting the cost with the City of Greenville.

According to Sims, Splash Kingdom offers a summertime family water park entertainment center on approximately 10 to 14 acres with attractions including wave pool, lazy river, multi slide high rise slide tower, large children’s splash park area, corporate picnic facilities, full food and non-alcoholic beverage concessions, group pavilions, private cabanas, and exterior park public picnic areas.

Splash Kingdom’s slogan is “Glorifying God while providing a safe, fun, recreation experience for families”.

Splash Kingdom offers daily admission and seasonal passes and hopes to generate approximately 100,000 water park visitors each season.  Splash Kingdom would offer the water park to schools, churches, businesses for corporate outings and private parties.

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