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Adventure park could be another attraction at Ford Park

 

A developer bringing a convention hotel and water park to Ford Park may be adding to the new attractions by building an adventure park complete with zip lines, rock climbing, rope courses and arcade games.

On Monday, Jefferson County Commissioners discussed the potential plans with Pate Development Corp. during a closed-door session.

At this point the park is something the developer and the county are looking at with no firm plans. At the same time, the county is excited at the prospect, Fred Jackson, assistant to County Judge Jeff Branick, said.

“This would be a big boon for us, a great thing,” Jackson said.

If built, the park attraction would be open year-round, providing jobs during months the water park is closed.

While the new concept is in the early planning stages, financing for the $40 million 200-room Embassy Suites convention hotel and family-style water park projects are in the final stages, Jackson said.

Financing for the projects will be offset by a combination of Jefferson County and city of Beaumont abatements, and the county’s portion of Hotel Occupancy Taxes generated by the hotel industry and sales tax.

April will make two years Ford Park announced the new development.

Jackson said the waterpark and convention hotel were delayed in getting started.

“There was a delay of many months getting the city’s final signed 380 (abatement) agreement,” Jackson said.

The next step for the waterpark and hotel is to hire engineers and contractors.

Jackson said the county is hoping the water park will be in by the summer, but does not know if that will happen.

“The last I heard, it requires at least four months to get the waterpark in place as long as there is construction with no delays,” Jackson said.

If the adventure park were added to the mix of new development at Ford Park, it would increase the cost by about $3 million, Jackson said.

The adventure park could be built much like Hawaiian Falls Water Park and Adventure Park in Pflugerville, north of Austin.

According to Hawaiian Falls website, the Austin-area park offers adventure for novices to the experienced with 1,500 feet of zip line and 1,000 feet of rope course, all at different levels, from 2 feet to 26 feet.

The facility also boasts a 30-foot cargo net, indoor event center complete with arcade games and a restaurant as well as a 36-foot climbing wall.

E-mail: sherry.koonce@panews.com

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