Water park coming to new Gilbert Regional Park if council gives OK

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A water park will be built on three lakes at the Gilbert Regional Park under construction in South Gilbert if Town Council approves a lease agreement at its Feb. 21 meeting.

The park will be a public-private partnership between Gilbert and The Strand @Gilbert, LLC, which operates a waterpark in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, according to town officials. It will be the company’s first venture in the United States.

Amenities will include water features and rides, a floating stage for entertainment and full surfing availability, with plans to host full surfing competitions. Gilbert residents would get a discount.

Construction would begin within 18 months of the agreement’s execution, and the park would open within three years of the agreement, according to town documents.

Town Manager Patrick Banger said when the town put together a parks plan a few years ago, it identified the residents’ desire for a water amenity. Banger noted those are among the most expensive facilities for a city to build and operate.

However, according to the proposed agreement, the town will bear no costs in construction, maintenance or operations. The company also would have the responsibility for getting the park’s water.

The company and town would agree to a 50-year lease on 25 acres of the new park with three 10-year options for renewal. Gilbert would be paid a lease and a percentage of gross sales from a revenue-sharing program.

Gilbert would receive a minimum annual payment of $253,191.24, excluding the revenue share, for which it anticipates receiving between $450,000 and $750,000 annually, according to projections from the town.

The first phase of Gilbert Regional Park is under construction with an anticipated September opening.

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Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.
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