Archive for Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Waterpark to make a splash in KCK

September 21, 2005

The loose translation of the word, Schlitterbahn, in German is "slippery road." To Unified Government of Wyandotte County officials, the word translates more accurately to "exciting."

It also means Wyandotte County has solidified its place as a destination attraction, said Joe Reardon, mayor/CEO of Unified Government.

During a press conference Thursday, Reardon and other county officials announced that Schlitterbahn Vacation Village, a $300 million family waterpark, will become the next major tourist attraction to western Wyandotte County.

The waterpark has a tentative opening date of 2008.

It will be constructed on 300 acres east of the Village West tourism district.

"Schlitterbahn Vacation Village is more than any other kind of waterpark," Reardon said. "It's much, much more."

The project will include a waterpark with miles of interconnected rivers, a marine park complete with saltwater lagoons, a milelong river walk featuring family-oriented shops, restaurants and other entertainment venues, as well as a 300-room hotel, cabins and resorts.

Reardon said the new development will add 3,000 jobs and millions of dollars in revenue to Wyandotte County. The development will also serve as a complimentary addition its neighbor, Village West, which already features some of the state's top tourist attractions in the Kansas Speedway, Cabela's and the Great Wolf Lodge.

The site of the Schlitterbahn project currently houses the Wyandotte County Fairgrounds. The Wyandotte County Fair Board treasurer Gary Grabel said his group has been a partner in negotiations with Schlitterbahn and also supports the new development.

"We want to tell you we are so excited about this project," Grabel said.

The fair will either move to another site or the waterpark will be built around it, county officials said.

Schlitterbahn Waterparks' flagship park in New Braunfels has been the top-attended water park in the United States since 1995, according to company officials.

Jeff Henry, whose family created the Schlitterbahn company, said the company chose Kansas for its prime location.

He cited the proposed location's proximity to Village West as a prime reason for locating to the state.

"I can promise you when we're done it will be something you can be proud of," he said.

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