It’s time the talk of a proposed water park stops being fluid

Published 9:27 am Tuesday, December 24, 2019

As we approach the end of 2019 and begin the downward slide to 2020, there remain several unanswered questions for the city.

One of those has been lingering for about four years, and the object of this question is beginning to take on a mythical character all its own — the water park.

Is Vicksburg getting a water park? It’s a question I periodically ask our city fathers.

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But every time I ask, people dance around the answer more than the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes dance to music when they perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I’m told, “It’s coming soon.” But when I ask “how soon?” they hem and haw and mumble and stumble and tell me certain things “still need to take place” before the proposed park is a reality.

I went back to the newspaper’s digital archives and learned our city leaders have been talking about a water park since 2015.

At that time, there was talk of a proposed $12.95 million water park for Vicksburg called the Blues Beach Family Waterpark, and in 2016 the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a resolution asking the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration to declare a necessity to issue the state general obligation bonds for a tourism project (read water park). The park was going to be located off South Frontage Road near the Outlets of Vicksburg and construction was scheduled to begin in 2018.

As we know, construction didn’t begin in 2018 because work had not yet started on the South Frontage Road extension, and soon after, rumors began to fly that the project was moving from South Frontage Road to a site on U.S. 61 North.

There have been hints the park will be located on the part of the city’s Fisher Ferry Road property that was not developed by Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi; a fitting site, since part of that vacant area is in a flood zone.

But all the speculation doesn’t answer the question of whether Vicksburg is getting a water park. Or when.

I think it’s time our public officials — or someone else — sat down and gave us some straight answers — either yes or no — on the water park and when and where it will be built.

There is no question a water park would be a boon to the city’s tourism industry and would be a very good addition to the city’s attractions, especially for the families who travel here for baseball and softball tournaments at Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi.

But talking and hinting about it ain’t getting it built, and for me, the idea that we’re getting a water park or any type of amusement park has reached a point where it’s entered the category of “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

I think it’s time the questions are answered on the record — are we getting a water park, where is it going to be and when will it be built? I think it’s time we all really knew. The cotillion is over. Stop dancing and start talking.

 

John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at john.surratt@vicksburgpost.com.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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