San Saba okays plans for $5 million water park

The city of San Saba has guaranteed a note for $5 million that will provide funds for the construction of a water park and RV complex for the northern portion of the Texas Hill Country. In the planning stages since 1998, the project is the result of tireless effort and cooperation between the city, county and residents of San Saba. According to Cindy Owens, administrative assistant for the city of San Saba, when the plans and ideas were first being researched, she and a group of about 20 businessmen, commissioners and residents made a trip to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels and to the small town of Sheridan to see what possibilities were available if the project came to fruition. Schlitterbahn is one of the nation’s most profitable water parks and Sheridan, a town of approximately 250 people near Eagle Lake, has a water park that is visited by thousands of visitors each year. “This is something I personally have been working on for several years,” said Ms. Owens. “We have been working to help bring in something that would help subsidize the local economy and that would help surrounding areas as well. This will not only help us, but hopefully it will help places like Brady and Goldthwaite as well.” Since the idea’s inception back in 1998, many bridges have been crossed and decisions have been made. The original plans were to put the facilities in Mill Pond Park, but that location was eventually replaced by a spot just west of town off of U.S. Hwy. 190 between the highway and the railroad tracks. According to Ms. Owens, this location is already owned by the city, and there is substantial room for expansion. This particular location also gives the park more exposure to highway traffic. The San Saba City Council announced recently that it would guarantee the $5 million note for the first year of operation. After that, they will give the developer an opportunity to continue with the project or the city will form a public facilities corporation to run the park. With a lazy river, wave pool and slides and rides for both children and adults, the water park will be a family-oriented facility. Approximately 70 RV spaces and 30 cabins will also be constructed to allow for extended stays. The water park will be open for as long as four months during the summer. The RV spaces and cabins will be available all year ’round to accommodate hunters and golfers as well. “We have one of the best golf courses in the state and excellent hunting as well,” said Ms. Owens. “We have been planning on marketing all three as a package. If dad wants to come play golf, mom and the kids can spend their day at the water park.” The size of the park is expected to fit in a 10-acre section of land. The city’s goal is to have the park completed and ready by June 2002. Details of the time line and financing are still being ironed out by lawyers and project organizers, but the bottom line is still that a new tourist attraction is coming to the area.

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