Water Park May Make A Splash In Lower Currituck County

Dated: 04/22/2016

Views: 1901

I figured this article written by Dee Langston may be of interest to all of you, no matter if you live here or just come to visit.

Tourists heading down U.S. 158 toward the Outer Banks may be able to catch a wave before they even cross the Wright Memorial Bridge. Or, they might drift down a lazy river in an inner tube. Like water slides? At 110 feet tall, you should be able to see them from the road.

If county officials give their OK, Currituck may finally have a tourist draw at the southern end of the county, snagging some out-of-town dollars before they vanish into Dare County.

Aquatic Development Group, a New York-based company that specializes in resorts and water parks, wants to build OBX Waterpark on 80 acres north of Harbinger, on a site that Barnhill Construction currently uses for storage.

Although there have been rumors of various attractions coming to southern Currituck for decades, this is one that might be completed, said Currituck Planning Director Ben Woody.

The county’s Planning Board has approved the company’s initial plans, and has recommended that the county commissioners give it their OK. Residents will have a chance to speak out on the project during the county commissioners’ meeting in early May.

“This is probably the most tangible project we’ve ever approved,” Woody said. Recent plans for county growth included a solar farm and a ropes course in Corolla. Although the ropes course was approved, both projects were met with opposition from nearby neighbors — who for the most part, didn’t want to look at a solar farm or a climbing tower.

Woody pointed out that there’s not a lot of residential property near the proposed water park, and the only noise it would produce would likely be people splashing water and having a good time.

Charles Jordan addressed the Planning Board on behalf of his mother, who lives at 8541 Caratoke Highway — across the road from the proposed project. She was concerned about noise and traffic, especially regarding getting in and out of her driveway during the weekend, which is already a challenge in the summer.

Warren Eadus, a representative of Quible & Associates, the engineering firm that will be working on the project, said that a traffic study would determine if a traffic light is needed in front of the business. The park will be open only during daylight hours, Eadus added.

Plans for the water park include two water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river for tubing and a surfing simulator, Eadus told the board, adding that there will be total of about eight rides. In addition, the preliminary site plan includes space for a restaurant and shops, a restroom facility and a dorm for employee housing. It will also have its own wastewater treatment facility.

The project should generate some local construction jobs, Eadus said, although specialized workers might be brought in from elsewhere. The majority of jobs created will be seasonal positions for lifeguards and other workers.The proposed water park will be about 2 miles north of the Wright Memorial Bridge, near the industrial area that includes Bay Disposal and Johns Brothers Security.

Before giving its approval to the water park, the Planning Board endorsed a change to the height restrictions on outdoor recreation, bumping it up from 60 feet to 110 feet, and approved rezoning part of the property from heavy industrial to conditional business.

The county commissioners will have a public hearing on the project during their regular meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, May 2.

Aquatic Development Group has already completed several projects in the area, including a $25 million three-pool training facility at the U.S. Coast Guard Aviation and Technical Training Center at Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City. It was built in 2012, and includes a 1.2 million gallon main pool that can mimic rough ocean conditions.

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Kathleen Argiroff

Kathleen relocated to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with her husband and three children in 1989 from the Philadelphia and Stone Harbor, NJ areas. One of her greatest pleasures is introducing peopl....

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