ST. GEORGE — Project developers broke ground on Splash City Adventure Park Tuesday morning during an invite-only ceremony, signaling the official start to construction on St. George’s first large water park.
While it may be news to some, it’s been a long and winding journey to get this far; over two years ago, the St. George City Council approved a conditional use permit that would allow developers to operate the park within the city. Later, the council voted to widen Red Hills Parkway and vacate a section of Middleton Drive, making necessary changes to avoid adverse effects on traffic.
During Tuesday’s ceremony, St. George Mayor Jon Pike said a “city approved, but privately funded and operated” water park is what the area needed.
“A lot of taxpayers want various things, and a water park has been on the high end of the list for many years,” Pike said. “We want to make sure that we preserve and even improve our quality of life. This park is going to do that.”
The developer announced that Watts Construction, a St. George business, has been hired as the general contractor for Splash City.
Brian Kane, director of construction for Watts Construction, said the company has been working with developers on the park for several months.
“I’m excited to be involved in something like this,” Kane said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for the city, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to build.”
Now that ground has broke, crews have begun the grading process, and Kane said the next step is presenting plans to the City Council for approval.
Briant Buckwalter, one of the project developers, said he fell in love with St. George after participating in the St. George Marathon and Huntsman Senior Games. Buckwalter has invested in a number of projects, like real estate, and when he was approached to help bring a new water park to St. George, he said he jumped at the opportunity.
“Today is one of the greatest days for me,” Buckwalter said. “It’s been a while that we’ve been working on this project.”
He said he is most excited to take his grandchildren to the park after it opens.
The park will include a tower of nine waterslides, a 900-foot lazy river, a wave pool and splash pads. Four of the types of slides planned for the park have been featured on the Travel Channel show, “Extreme Waterparks.”
Splash City is scheduled to welcome visitors for the summer 2020 season.
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