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November 17, 2013

Council set to take vote on water park

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council could vote Tuesday to enter into an economic development agreement, which would bring Splash Kingdom to the city.

Time is of the essence, as officials with Splash Kingdom have indicated they need to begin construction on the water park by Dec. 1, if it is to open as planned next summer.

The council is scheduled to consider the vote during a special session at noon Tuesday in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street.

The proposed economic development agreement would be between the City of Greenville, Splash Kingdom, the Greenville Board of Development and III:I Emerging Market Partners, the developers behind the Greenville Towne Center project along the Interstate 30 service road.

The details of the agreement, which has been under negotiations for about a year were completed shortly before last week’s regular council session. Therefore, the council tabled the issue until Tuesday’s meeting, to allow time to look over the proposal before taking a vote.

The Council voted in March to approve a change in zoning for the Greenville Towne Center, which would cover almost 63 acres along the interstate, bounded by Center Point Lane and the Roy Warren Parkway and is also expected to include retail and commercial businesses, private event/meeting halls and possibly multi-family tracts.

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 which opened over the 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.

Under the proposed economic development agreement Splash Kingdom would spend $5 million to build the park, which would include no less than one major water slide, a lazy river, a wave pool, a children’s wading area, offices, concessions and parking. The city would reimburse III:I Emerging Market Partners $1.75 million in sales tax revenue through a tax increment financing agreement over 20 years.

Splash Kingdom is also expected to serve as the catalyst to launching the Towne Center project, as multiple restaurants are reportedly interested in building near the water park.

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