NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - ?
The Nacogdoches City Council voted four to one Tuesday night to move forward with the plan to build a Splash Kingdom water park.
The mayor said this project is something the city has been discussing for more than five years, and he feels it will be a good economic investment.
The council listened to more than two hours of comments from citizens Tuesday, but ultimately decided that the water park would bring an economic boost to the city.
"People need to see it as an economic development tool. It's not a city pool," said Nacogdoches Mayor Roger Van Horn.
It's about a $6 million dollar project, and our investment will be about $2 million in the land.
Van Horn said he's confident in the decision that was made.
"I feel certain as anybody can in this business that it will increase sales tax, it will bring visitors ... people will come, they will spend money, they will buy gas, they'll have meals, they may spend the night they may not," Van Horn said.
However, not everyone voted in favor of the project, city councilman David Norton said he doesn't feel a water park is right for Nacogdoches especially not at the University and La Nana Creek location.
"I don't feel like it's the right fit. I do want business to come here," Norton said. "We're running a business of our own. Heads in beds is something that we want here in Nacogdoches."
"Our partner is an expert in water parks. He looked at many pieces of property. He picked it," Van Horn said.
Norton said the majority of the people he talked to in the community were against the project for various reasons.
"For example, the area is going to be too small; it's in the flood plain. There won't be enough parking, things like that," Norton said. "Personally, I'd rather have a river walk. I think a river walk would bring in more businesses, jobs, tourists and it would be year-round instead of seasonal such as a water park."
Van Horn said there is no guarantee that the water park will be a success, but he believes it will be because of the success of other Splash Kingdoms.
Owner of Kingdom Perspectives LLC, Johnny Blevins, told East Texas News us that he expects to break ground in October.
The deal with the City of Nacogdoches stipulates that the park must open by next June and that Nacogdoches residents will get discounts for 15 years.
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