Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • City pushes back water park opening

  • The timeline for opening the municipal water park has been delayed a year.
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  • The ambitious goal of opening the proposed municipal water park in May 2015 will not be met and Dodge City officials are instead looking toward a May 2016 grand opening, previously the earliest expected date.
    Working with federal agencies, including the Army Corp of Engineers to approve changes to the site's drainage, has been taking more time than originally expected, City Manager Cherise Tieben said, adding that the federal agencies have been cooperative.
    "If something changes we can move things up easier than we can move things back," Tieben said.
    The scope of the project area has expanded with public investment in the water park and private investment in the hotel and neighboring boutique retail outlets "We're concerned we're going to be on top of each other; and safety," Tieben said.
    "I don't think — with everything that's planning on going on around there — there was any way we could make" the timeline, she added. "We want to make sure (the opening date is) realistic, most of all we want to make sure it's safe."
    The city's planning and zoning advisory board was also told at its meeting Tuesday night that the coming months would be busy as the city seeks to rezone areas around the proposed water park in Wright Park.
    Most of that are is a hodgepodge of legacy zoning, primarily light industrial, and it will become more like a "downtown" zone, Tieben said, with first-floor commercial and upper-floor residential. Most of the available parking, like downtown currently, will be publicly accessible.
    It will also help the area fit into the city's master plan, a requirement to take advantage of the STAR bonds state sales tax diversion incentive plan.
    The area southwest of the water park which will contain a recreational vehicle park, will also need to be rezoned.
    The city and the hotel group are in continuing discussions with Pos-T-Vac and Chaffin, the two businesses in the area the Leisure group hopes to be the start of redevelopment, Tieben said.
    The hotel is expected to open in 2016, and a silver lining to the delay might be that with construction mostly or completely finished in the surrounding area when the water park opens, it may make for a grander grand opening, Tieben said.
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