Weatherford Democrat

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August 24, 2012

Water park planned for Hudson Oaks

HUDSON OAKS — Residents heard plans of a new water park which is expected to be open for business Memorial Day weekend during Thursday night’s city council meeting.

Splash Kingdom Wild West will be constructed just to the west of City Lights Cinema at the end of Cinema Drive, according to Assistant City Administrator Patrick Lawler. Splash Kingdom officials, who also own water parks in Canton and Shreveport, La., have been in contract negotiations with the city for the past several months.

Splash Kingdom President Johnny Blevins said the goal is to start construction in September or October of 2012 and be ready to open Memorial Day Weekend. If construction doesn’t start then, opening may have to be put off for a year.

“It doesn’t make sense to a business like ours, which has a small window of business each year, to open in August,” Blevins said. “I don’t see any problems with making that date.”

He says between 130-150 seasonal workers will be hired beginning early next year. To accommodate the construction, council members held a public hearing and approved the rezoning of 10.3 acres of property from general commercial to planned development entertainment district with room for a five acre expansion. Lawler said the park is in a commercial zone and will not have any negative impact on residents themselves.

Residents are also scheduled for half price season passes at the park, Lawler said. Proof of residency will be needed

Lawler said what attracted Splash Kingdom officials to the area was the vegetation close to Interstate 20, which officials say will remain intact and become an integral part of the facility.  Lawler said the park could attract anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 visitors in its first year, based on projections.

“NRH2O (A water park in North Richland Hills) drew 280,000 visitors last year,” Lawler said. “We’re hoping people will spend their tax dollars not once, not twice but three or four times in our area.”

The park, which will have a lot of features to remind people of Parker County, will include a lazy river, a kiddie area, and a wave pool along with other rides and attractions. The family-style park will also include volleyball courts and a small outdoor amphitheater for small concerts and perhaps some summer movie nights, Blevins said.

The park itself will share some parking with the theater, which is planning a four screen expansion in the coming months.

Blevins said that Hudson Oaks is a perfect area for a water park.

“Most of our competitors are an hour away (from here),” Blevins said. “That will allow us to develop our territory here in Parker County and to create our customer base from some of the bigger cities.”

He says the area itself has a very western feel which lends itself perfectly to the Wild West theme. He said working with Hudson Oaks officials has been pleasant and he looks forward to a long and prosperous relationship.

“Water parks are not a here today, gone tomorrow item,” Lawler said. “They are usually here for the long haul.”

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