By Tom Blodgett for Community Impact
A 25-acre water sports complex will be built on three lakes at the Gilbert Regional Park under construction in South Gilbert.
The $35M water park will be a public-private partnership between Gilbert and The Strand @ Gilbert, a locally-formed company.
Town Council approved the agreement by a 6-1 vote Feb. 21, with Vice Mayor Eddie Cook voting in dissent.
John McLaughlin, Strand Resorts President and CEO, said the park is in the design phase and expects to begin construction in 90-120 days. He expects the park to open in summer of 2020.
The Gilbert park would be unlike other American water parks, according to town officials.
Amenities will include:
- a surf lagoon that can have surfable waves of up to 10 to 12 feet created, making it suitable for inland surfing competitions;
- a cable wake park that would use a cable system to pull riders so they are able to do wakeboarding and jumps;
- an aqua park water obstacle course suitable for all ages;
- a sand beach with swimming areas;
- a restaurant;
- a pro shop;
- cabanas; and
- a floating stage.
According to the agreement, the town will bear no costs in construction, maintenance or operations. The Strand @ Gilbert also agreed to build a 400-space shareable parking lot.
The company and town agreed to a 50-year lease with options for three 10-year extensions. Gilbert would be paid a lease and a percentage of gross sales from a revenue-sharing program.
Gilbert would receive a minimum annual payment of $253,191.24, excluding the revenue share, for which it anticipates receiving between $450K and $750K annually, according to projections from the town.
That projection is based on getting 3 percent of the gross revenues of between $15M and $25M annually. However, Brown said the company actually expects revenues between $25M and $36M annually.
The town also expects the park will create 180 jobs and have an annual economic impact of $317M.
Making the Deal
The water park has been several years in the making, said Patrick Banger, Gilbert City Manager.
It started when the town put together a parks plan five years ago and the residents identified an aquatic center as their No. 1 desire to have in Gilbert.
However, Banger noted such facilities are among the most costly to build and maintain.