To beat the heat, Columbia County offers the lake, private and neighborhood pools and a few splash pads at county parks.
Wayne Canty hopes to add a water park.
“We don’t have (anything like that) here,” the Augusta resident said.
Columbia County hasn’t housed a water park since 2003, when Krystal River Water Park closed after 15 years on Industrial Park Drive in Evans. The owner cited drastically increasing insurance costs as the reason for closing.
Canty said he’s purchasing 35 acres alongside Interstate 20 at Appling-Harlem Highway. The sale is contingent on having the property rezoned, which is expected to go before the county’s planning commission on July 19.
He’s also hoping the community will help pay for the water park, which he said will include water slides, a wave pool, lazy river, large play structure, kiddie pool area, bumper boats, flow rider, beach volleyball courts, arcade, restaurant, amphitheater and entertainment facilities.
Canty is holding a public meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the pavilion at Red Oak Manor in Harlem to explain the project and solicit contributions.
“We’re asking for a monetary donation, $5 or $6,” Canty said. “We’re not asking for any type of investment.”
Canty said he got the idea after a visit to Splash in the Boro, a water park in Statesboro, Ga. He saw lots of Augusta-area tags and thought a water park would do well in the area.
He’s considered several sites and talked to a couple of former Augusta commissioners, who encouraged Canty to downgrade the project to a few splash pads in south Augusta.
Canty said he found the property on Appling-Harlem Highway and began talking with owner Larry Prather.
In talks with numerous banks, Canty said none will help finance the water park because “it’s a liability” and there aren’t any grants offered for water parks. But he’s exploring investment and other funding options as he continues to have final design plans drawn up.
“I’m looking for the community to help me out,” he said, adding that all contributions would go toward the park’s development, including design, site preparation and construction.
“This project will be up May 2013.”
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