Plans for Ellensburg water park, outlets to create jobs

Plans for Ellensburg water park, outlets to create jobs »Play Video
(Photo courtesy: The Lakeside Landing)

ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Those on again off again plans for a water park in Ellensburg now seem to be on again. Developers now say they have the financing to make it happen after years of failed attempt.

Just beyond this mound of dirt and just a short drive from the interstate is where Washington's largest water park is going to sit. But, it's been a long time coming and most people in the city are crossing their fingers that this time, it's actually going to happen.

"Water park will set back towards the freeway along with the hotel," said Water Park Developer Gene Martin. "The outlet mall will be this whole area up through here."

Developer Gene Martin says an outlet mall will accompany the water park along with two hotels and a convention center.

A maze of slides, lazy rivers and walkways all indoors. Concept images show lush courtyards lined with popular stores.

But, is this realistic?

"We have it all lined up. Signed off. We're going to do the deal. We will build this facility."

This facility comes with a high price tag. Nearly a billion dollars when it's all said and done. So who's footing the bill?

Reporter: "The taxpayer isn't paying any money for this?"

"No, there's nothing but private money for this," Martin said.

However, the city would benefit. The city estimates retail and lodging taxes could bring in about 800-thousand a year.

Martin expects more than 2,000 new jobs for the city.

"The restaurants, gas stations, other hotels, they're all going to benefit from what we're doing here," Martin said.

Downtown business owner Carol Cox is not so sure.

"If they have everything they need on the outskirts of town, there would be no reason to come into town," said Carol Cox, a downtown business owner.

Martin says he will work with different downtown committees to help drive tourists their way.

Construction's scheduled to begin this fall, but it will be about three years until this plan becomes reality.

The developer says the facility will be powered by solar and wind energy.