Weatherford Democrat

March 27, 2013

Water works

Construction progresses on new water park


Weatherford Democrat

— By BRIAN SMITH



HUDSON OAKS — While much of the work is hard to see from the surrounding roads, construction continues to move at a frenetic pace on the Splash Kingdom Waterpark scheduled to open this spring.

Assistant City Administrator Patrick Lawler said after several weeks of dirt work, construction on the buildings and parking lot that will make up the park began in early March to the west of the City Lights Theatre.

“People say they’re not seeing much work being done, but we’ve been going since we had that groundbreaking in January,” Lawler said.

The work is going on behind a massive hill that is part of the original landscape that Splash Kingdom Waterpark President Johnny Blevins liked and made him want to build here to begin with, Lawler said.

Much of the original landscaping was kept intact to help remind visitors of a time gone by. The park, which will have a wild west theme in every aspect, is expected to bring more than 100,000 visitors to the area in its first year.

“It’s exciting for us as a city and as an area as a whole,” Lawler said. “It will give everyone a feel for what the true Parker County is. ”

Once the park is open, visitors will be greeted with a general store-style building that will house a concession stand. Across the breezeway will be an Old West-style jail, which will house ticket takers and a small gift shop. The focal point of the entry, however, will be a 30-foot high clock tower that will continue the focus on the Old West.

Next to the entrance will be a building that has first aid, lockerrooms, restrooms and offices. The positioning of the offices on the second floor of the building will enable workers to be able to see problems throughout the 10-acre park and address them quickly.

Much of the concrete for the entry buildings and parking lot is expected to be poured this week. Once inside, visitors will be carried into the snake pit, a group of five slides that resemble coral snakes. Those snakes will then dump riders into a massive pool that will have a nearby waterfall providing water.

Questions on how much of a drain the water park will be on the city’s water supply have come up. Because of an internal recycling system within the park itself, which will transfer and purify and recycle water among all the rides and attractions, actual water usage by the park will be fairly minimal, Lawler said.

“They will use the same amount of water as a car wash, and that’s for four months out of the year when they are open,” Lawler said. “It will be the equivalent of about 10 residential pools that serve 150,000 people.”

More concessions will be housed in a barn-style building, complete with a sliding door, toward the center of the park. A lazy river will flow throughout the park and be set between caverns on either side. Slides at the top of the park will come out of a water tower made to look like it came from a time 150 years ago.

The racer slides will also be covered by walls to make the rider look like he or she is enclosed during the ride. At the highest part of the park, people can see traffic along I-20 for miles. Lawler said the top of the park, where the racer slides are located, may be one of the nicest areas, as a refreshing breeze will blow even during the hottest months.

“There’s nothing like it on the west side of the Metroplex, that’s for sure,” Lawler said about the park. “People will be able to learn about the area as they are coming through. Having the waterpark here will bring great visibility to the area from the 70,000 cars that pass by here every day.”

The park is expected to bring visitors from throughout the state to the area. Those people spend money at restaurants, convenience stores and hotels in the area.

“We’re thinking visitors will spend a day at the park and another day seeing what else the area has to offer,” Lawler said. “Each dollar spent here is actually spent three or four times.”

For a video presentation of what the park will look like when completed, visit the City of Hudson Oaks’ Facebook page and scroll down to the presentation.