No sooner had a great idea popped up on the public radar than exuberance arose. The water park project proposal earned a swift green light from Manatee County commissioners this week.
We've long wondered why a water park didn't exist here, but now one's in the works on 20 acres of the county's Tom Bennett Park in East Manatee.
With our great weather, bustling tourism industry and prime regional position, the combo water park-aquatic center should become a major attraction.
The $20 million proposal could feature a roller coaster that soaks riders, a gigantic wave pool with a fake tropical beach, water and thrill slides, tube rides and sand volleyball courts set among a dense tropical jungle atmosphere.
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When Anna Maria Island beachgoers tire of sand, here would be another water option. Hot, sweaty athletes could walk of the fields of the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch and find cool respite. Parents weary of nagging children would find relief at this park.
Small wonder commissioners wholeheartedly endorsed the park in a unanimous vote. It's a no-brainer idea.
The Central Economic Development Center Inc. of Bradenton is partnering with Mims Construction and Austin Commercial on a project bid after bringing the idea to the county. The county must put out a request for proposals, though, as required by law.
A big bonus are all the jobs that will this will bring, an estimated 200 temporary ones during construction and 140 permanent positions for park operations.
One possible downside, though: Tom Bennett Park sits near the Interstate 75-State Road interchange. Will gridlock ensue just like down on the University Parkway interchange with I-75?
We might be getting ahead of ourselves here, but that might deserve a traffic study by the Florida Department of Transportation.
In the meantime, the water park can't open fast enough.