PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Will plans to build a new water park in Port St. Lucie make a splash with city leaders?
Council members on Tuesday heard from a team of engineers from Kimley-Horn about a feasibility study to see where the best location would be for a new aquatic facility.
The preferred site is in Torino Regional Park, which is currently being designed. Another option is in the Tradition neighborhood, but that site is currently under contract for a different development project and is unavailable.
Officials with Kimley-Horn said the Torino Regional Park site has plenty of space, good access to major roadways, adequate drainage, and is not surrounded by many homes.
On the table are three pricing options ranging from $10 to $25 million dollars.
The most expensive option would include single and multi-rider slides, a wave pool and flow rider, and a lazy river.
The cheapest option would cost roughly $10 to 15 million dollars and would include an eight-lane lap pool, some slides, and a smaller lazy river.
READ WATERPARK STUDY:
Mayor Shannon Martin, who's in favor of an aquatic facility, said it's something residents want, but worries about the impacts of construction on traffic.
"With a regional park, you're gonna have a lot of flow into the traffic flow. It's not gonna just be the residents in that area. And we already have issues out in Torino with the roadway and traffic. So we have to make sure that whatever we do is gonna also address that," Martin said.
Consultants with Kimley-Horn said the water park could be open 125 days a year for eight hours per day.
Admission prices could range anywhere from $7 to $20, however, the prices will likely depend on the size and cost of the water park.
Martin suggested the idea of a taxpayer referendum on an election ballot to help foot the bill.
"The taxpayers want it. We may need to have conversations about what that looks like as far as whether they'd be willing to pay for it with a bottom referendum," Martin said.
Engineers said it would still be several years before the water park can become a reality. It takes roughly one year of planning and design, and another year to build it.
"If this is the direction we go, it's not just the one-time investment if you truly want a premiere water park," said Vice Mayor Jolien Caraballo. "It's going to take continual investments every three to five years to ensure that we can stay competitive in the market."
"I think they should go all-out," said Port St. Lucie resident Skylar Lasseur. "Put your money where it needs to be put. Put the money behind it so that it's something. It gives the city traffic, it will bring more people into the city. I think, just go all-out. No more small parks."
Part of the research conducted by Kimley-Horn included the number of children living in the area and the median household income.
"It's definitely needed," said Lasseur. "It's sometimes boring over here. There's usually nothing to do sometimes. So it's good we have something that's different in the community. I used to drive every July to Rapids. The older I got, I can't make the drive. So if it's local, I'll go every day."
Back in June of 2021, city leaders issued a purchase order to consultants.
City leaders still need to decide whether the park will be owned and operated by the city, or be run by a third-party management company.