JONESBORO, Ark. – If Team Jonesboro’s effort to pass a one-percent sales tax is successful, we know one of the first projects that might be in line for requesting money.
It’s still a lot of “maybes” but on a hot Friday afternoon, one can still dream.
Haag Brown Commercial Real Estate revealed a proposal for Big Island Water Park and Aquatic Center on Friday – a world-class water park and swimming pool center which would be built on 90 acres of city land adjacent to Joe Mack Campbell Park.
“We think that’s the cheapest and best place for it,” Brown said.
The park is expected to be opened 115 days out of the year. In the “off-season,” Brown said a zipline course and obstacle course could be used. A possible amphitheater may also be set up, although Brown indicated that was not a certainty and would depend on construction.
On top of that, for two weeks, a Halloween ghost tour would be possible at the park. Spooky!
If the sales tax passes, Josh Brown said the group behind the project would submit the plans for the park to the oversight committee to be approved. As far as what would be asked of funding, that’s still iffy. Brown said parking would be needed and the aquatic center, too, indicating the rest of the theme park might then be privately funded. However, that part still remained uncertain. Brown said a huge part of the pitch will be the value the park and center would add to businesses and the town as a whole.
“We think that it raises the gross sales for every restaurant and every retailer as soon as it opens and there’s not many things that can make that case,” Brown said.
In other words, don’t expect it to be cheap.
The low-end expectation for an aquatic center from Team Jonesboro’s presentation last week was $15,000,000 to $18,000,000. This would be a bigger request than that, based on what Brown described. In addition to an aquatic center, the city would need to make parking for that AND the water park. Plus, the city would need to lease the land for $1 a year for 50 years.
Friday’s event was more about getting a plan in place for what Brown said was the most requested item on everyone’s list of wants and needs for Jonesboro. Until the tax passes, Haag Brown is not ready to hire civil engineers and secure financing – a very extensive and expensive process that includes much more planning than has been done to date. Brown also said he wouldn’t be the developer but was bringing the people together who could make the project a reality.
If the sales tax is not passed, the idea goes back on the shelf, Brown said.
“We think this water park will make 10 or 12 weekends ‘boomtown’ here during the summer,” Brown said.