Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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July 14, 2014

City approves water park agreement; targeting Memorial Day 2015 opening

Corsicana — The City of Corsicana now owns a 5 percent stake in the Corsicana Water and Adventure Park, now slated to start construction next month. The attraction is set to open Memorial Day weekend in 2015.

The Corsicana City Council approved an agreement with the water park’s developers Monday that gives the city a 5 percent ownership equity in the project in exchange for making up to $300,000 available to the park’s developers during the first two years of operation to meet debt service requirements should any payments go into default over 30 days. The council would have to approve making any payments from the $300,000 fund, and the city would receive interest on any funds used from the reserve.

Developer Michael Jenkins was in Corsicana Monday to meet with investors in the water park project, and with city officials, to update them on plans for the park.

And, Mayor Chuck McClanahan stressed several times at Monday’s meeting, “the city’s pools will remain open.” A previous version of the agreement had included a provision that would close the city’s two swimming pools. That is not a part of the agreement approved Monday.

Jenkins said he is meeting with three contractors this week to work out details of their bids for taking on the job of building the attraction. He said construction should start next month.

“We’ve done a lot of the work already,” Jenkins said. “When we start, hopefully by the end of August, we’ll be a ‘jump ahead.’”

Current plans call for the water park to be open by Memorial Day weekend in 2015.

“That’s real important. We want to have a full season, we want to have a three-day holiday weekend to open the park,” Jenkins explained.

Jenkins also introduced a new partner and investor in the project, Shiraz Shalwani, who has been involved in developing another entertainment project in the Dallas area. Shalwani was introduced as the “guarantor” for the $9 million project.

“Not only is he the guarantor, he has a great deal of expertise in food, beverage and merchandising, which we plan to incorporate into the park,” Jenkins said.

“Our family feels privileged to be a part of this,” Shalwani said.

Councilman Tom Wilson said he was “skeptical” about the project prior to Monday’s meeting based on feedback he’d gotten about the planned attraction, but is now a supporter of the park after hearing Monday’s update.

Councilman Don Denbow joined McClanahan in emphasizing that the city’s two municipal pools — in Bunert Park and Jester Park — will remain open and their activities not affected by the water park.

Jenkins thanked the city for its help and support of the attraction.

“We’re enthusiastic about Corsicana,” he said. “We’re not trying to build the biggest, but we’re trying to build the best.”

The council vote on the agreement was 4-0, with Precinct 3 Councilman John McClung, who is an investor in the water park, abstaining.

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