Dirt will start flying soon to build the Hawaiian Falls water and adventure parks, and the buzz is making big waves in western Tarrant County.
Last week, Hawaiian Falls and city officials completed the final details on the 16-acre complex with the two parks, a family arcade and an events center that will be built near Veterans Park at Clifford Street and Loop 820.
Under the agreements approved by the City Council, the city’s Economic Development Corp. agreed to fund the construction with a $12.6 million sales tax revenue bond that will be repaid in 20 years. Sales tax revenue from the water park and adventure park will be used to pay off the debt.
“It will be out of this world what this park will do for our city,” Mayor Jerry Burns said. “A lot of people worked hard to make this happen.”
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David Bush, president and founder of the Hawaiian Falls company, said: “It was a major moment between us and the City Council; we agreed to all of the contracts. It is very exciting.”
Negotiations to build the water park flowed smoothly, and Bush praised city officials for their willingness to approve plans quickly.
Construction will start soon so that the water and adventure parks will be open in May, in time for the summer season. There will be an invitation-only groundbreaking Dec. 3.
Leap of faith
In September, Bush spent $3.5 million ordering the wave pool, water slides and other play equipment for the water park before all the details were in place, he said.
“This is where my faith comes in,” he said. “There aren’t many manufacturers for this equipment, and you have to start early.”
When the park opens, visitors will enter in a 20,000-square-foot building featuring a restaurant, laser tag and other family activities. Hawaiian Falls is also building an aloha events center that will be good for corporate events and team-building activities. The events center will also feature catering, Bush said.
Once visitors leave the building they can head to the waterpark or adventure park, Bush said.
The water park, which will open from Memorial Day through the Labor Day weekend, has a 1,000-foot river with fountains and rapids, a football-field-size wave pool and an activity pool with a floating obstacle course. The adventure park, open year-round, will have zip lining, a military-style obstacle course climbing and rappelling walls and a six-story free-fall attraction.
Company spokesman David Alvey said the parks will create seasonal and year-round jobs in the White Settlement area including 250 to 300 seasonal jobs and 30 to 50 year-round jobs. The company will hold job fairs in the spring, he said.
Alvey said the parks will likely attract around 300,000 visitors a year from communities such as Weatherford, Abilene and Stephenville.
He added that hotels in the area are eager for the water and adventure parks to open.
Hawaiian Falls operates water parks in Garland, The Colony, Mansfield, Roanoke and Waco, and plans to open one in Pflugerville, north of Austin, in 2014.
Meanwhile, Burns said Hawaiian Falls is coming at a time when White Settlement is recovering from the economic slump.
“White Settlement is picking up,” he said. “God is being good to us.”