By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun
Corsicana Mayor Chuck McClanahan said “this will change the face of Corsicana forever.”
McClanahan’s remark came at Friday’s groundbreaking for the new Corsicana Water and Adventure Park, to be located at the busy Interstate 45/South U.S. Highway 287 intersection in Corsicana.
City and county leaders joined developers of the project for the ceremonial turning of the first shovel of dirt to signify the beginning construction on the major tourist attraction.
The park is a 23-acre development with a price tag of $9 million. It has attracted several local investors to get the ball rolling on construction. The park is slated to open late next summer.
“What we want to do here is not build the largest park, but build the best,” said Michael Jenkins, president of Leisure and Recreation Concepts, developer of the park. “It’s a very high quality project.”
Jenkins promised a state-of-the-art, family friendly attraction that is expected to attract in excess of 115,000 visitors annually during its 234-day operating season.
“Someone said to me a moment ago if the water was here we’d already be in it,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins praised McClanahan, City Manager Connie Standridge and Lee McCleary, the former economic development director for Corsicana and Navarro County, for their efforts in seeing the project through the planning and development stages to Friday’s groundbreaking.
“In all the cities we’ve worked in — and this is our 1,190th project — we’ve never seen anyone that had more of the pulse of the community and was a ‘doer’ than Connie Standridge,” Jenkins said. He also thanked City Councilman John McClung and local attorney Barbara Moe for their involvement in getting the project started.
Jenkins said the water park’s features will include a major slide, a lazy river, a wading pool, zip line, waterfalls, a wave machine, several pools, and plans to use a lake on the property for paddle boats, water shows, and some seasonal activities.
“The best thing about today is to see the smiles on faces, especially the children and young people, as they will eventually journey to this site, hopefully many times,” he said.
State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) also praised the efforts of local leaders in getting the park to locate in Navarro County.
“This is really about a very determined community,” Cook said. “This is one more piece in the puzzle to make us truly a regional destination.”
Cook also thanked the Texas Department of Agriculture and Ag Commissioner Todd Staples for making a $750,000 state infrastructure grant available to the city in connection with the project.
“This has been a long time coming,” said County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr. “I’d love to be out there in the water right now.” Davenport said the quality of Jenkins’ developments will result in “a very, very successful endeavor here.”
Frank Steed, chairman of the Corsicana and Navarro County Chamber of Commerce, said a major attraction like the new water park will help attract more developments in the city and county.
“We’re already having people calling us that we were begging to talk to in the past,” Steed said.
“From what little I’ve already heard, there are a lot of folks that have the potential to be drawn to this because of Michael Jenkins and what he’s brought to other areas,” said McClanahan. “We’re having people knock on our door that we’ve never had before ... there is a great amount of interest.
“It’s a catalyst we needed that is going to put a lot of money in our community with people visiting and the jobs it will create,” added Paul Hooper, the chamber’s president and CEO.
Jenkins said he expects to begin preliminary site work within the next 30 days.
“We’re ready to go.”
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