Business leaders from throughout the city received updates on a number of city projects during a forum here Tuesday morning.
Mayor Pat Deen led a discussion on a number of subjects during the hour-long forum. Parker County Judge Mark Riley provided information on the Eastern Loop transportation project. He said the west loop portion, which connects FM 51 north and I-20 should be completed in the spring 2014. He said TxDOT conducted a study in 2004 and said, based on traffic count, it would be better to work on that portion of the project first.
The eastern part of the project, which starts about a mile north of the courthouse and crosses FM 730, will end somewhere between the movie theater and Center Point Road in Hudson Oaks. Riley said the engineering firm of Freese and Nichols will determine exactly where the road will go but said Center Point Road would be a good place because it already has an overpass.
The Eastern Loop will be completed as money is available, Riley said. Further information can be found on parkercountytransportationbond.com, Riley said.
Assistant City Administrator Patrick Lawler gave an update on water system improvements in the city. He said the city has plenty of water capacity for the future, noting it is at 39 percent of its 1.54 million gallons of raw water a day capacity.
He noted the fast growth of the city, particularly in residential areas, as the city has grown 4.4 percent in the last five months in residential development alone. Lawler said that even with the new water park coming in, the proposed Red Eagle pump station, which will be under construction this spring, will be able to handle bringing in the additional raw water the city owns.
“Water parks don’t use any more water than a car wash,” Lawler said. “The reality is the amount of water they’re using just isn’t that high.”
Johnny Blevins, president of the Splash Kingdom Wild West waterpark coming to Hudson Oaks, said the park will be a good neighbor and have a ripple effect on the amount of tourism dollars brought into the city.
Blevins used a conservative number of 100,000 guests at the park. Guests normally spend $22 at the water park, which would equate to $2.2 million a year, he said. Many of those guests are expected to come from out of town. Statistics show that each of those guests will spent about $90 on food, lodging, gas and other essentials outside the city, Blevins said. Each one of those dollars will be spent four times around the city, based on tourism standards.
The park will be built on 10 acres just west of the City Lights Theatres with options for an additional five acres, which Blevins plans on using for expansion soon. He told the business leaders he plans on closing on the land in the next week and beginning construction Nov. 1. He said he is still is shooting for a Memorial Day weekend opening.
Phase 1 of the park will include a wave pool, a lazy river, large children’s area, a multi-slide tower, picnic facilities for corporate events and a small outdoor amphitheater. The park will have five or six full time employees and around 140 seasonal workers, Blevins said.
Deen said the water park will be an anchor for “many things coming to fruition” from a business standpoint.
“At the same time the water park will be under construction, City Lights Theater will be expanding by four screens,” City Administrator Sheri Campbell-Husband said. “Eventually it will be known as City Lights Theaters — Hudson Oaks which is big for us.”