Local leaders hear Gaffney water park proposal

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GAFFNEY, SC (WSPA) – A developer wants a new water park to make a splash in the Upstate. 

The Cherokee County, Gaffney, and Blacksburg councils all met to hear the plans for the Gaffney Peach Beach Water Park Tuesday along with the Gaffney Board of Public Works Commission.

“We definitely need something like this,” said Gaffney City Council member Stephanie Smith. “Our whole county, our whole area benefits from it and it just helps us all working together.”

Gaffney resident Tom Lee pitched the idea saying it can draw more people into the downtown area. 

“It gives the town a chance to showcase itself – let them see what the town’s made of,” he said of the proposed site across from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. “If you put it by the interstate, they’ll drive off the interstate, pull into the water park, swim all day, turn around and drive back home.” 

Lee said the park would be similar to one his team built in Hartsville on roughly 3.5 acres. He said that park was partially funded by a bond referendum with other funds coming from a grant. 

Designers from Architecture Unlimited shared a video with artist renderings of the proposed park: 

Local leaders had a lot of questions.

“Why was this location picked? What’s the specifics with this location. It’s a true concern for a lot of people,” said Smith, adding that several constituents contacted her about the idea. 

Lee says what they presented would cost between $10-$12 million and the Irene Pool property – which is partially owned by the city of Gaffney – is an alternative site.

“We would build whatever was allotted,” said Lee, adding that they will tailor the plan according to the budget they’re given. “If things worked out, you would get money from the county, the city and the board of public works.”

The cost was another question raised by elected officials. 

“Cherokee County just had to raise taxes because of EMS service and we don’t want to put more on the taxpayers at this time,” said Cherokee County Council Chairman Tim Spencer. “I personally don’t want my constituents thinking we’re raising taxes right away. This is a study and a study only. This is not a plan to move forward at this time. It’s wonderful [idea]. How are we going to fund it. That’s the biggest thing.”

Gaffney mayor Henry Jolly says initial proposal site could present challenges since its privately owned properties would need to be purchased. 

“It could be even more expensive but it’s a wonderful idea,” said Mayor Jolly. “Would be a good project not only for the town. It would be a good project for the entire greater Cherokee County area and the surrounding area.”

Some local leaders also asked how would the Town of Blacksburg truly benefit financially given how far it is from Gaffney.

“Like the city council member from Blacksburg said, I really don’t know how they’d create a revenue off of it but it would be, like the Mayor said, a plus for the whole county including Blacksburg,” said Spencer.

City and county leaders say they want to see some statistics on the current water park in Hartsville, and figure out the finances, and location before moving forward with the idea. The developer team said they’ll get the requested information to the Gaffney city administrator to be shared with other local leaders before further decisions. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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