The opening of The Strand @ Gilbert, the planned water park at Gilbert Regional Park, will be pushed back six months to August 2022 after Gilbert Town Council approved Aug. 25.

The developers of The Strand requested modifications of the contract to allow for a revised schedule on build-out of the park, citing the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Stand President and CEO John McLaughlin said Aug. 26 that developers thought it was in everyone's best interest to "push pause" on the development because of the pandemic. McLaughlin said that will allow them to follow any new guidance for water parks from the Centers for Disease Control and install any new technology that comes forth to keep people safe.

"That's easier to do on the front end than the back end," McLaughlin said. "There's just so many things happening."

The contract modifications include:

  • deadline for construction to begin moved from Aug. 21 to Feb. 21, 2021;

  • deadline for construction completion from Feb. 21, 2022, to Aug. 21, 2022; and

  • deadline for operations to commence from Feb. 21, 2022, to Aug. 21, 2022.

Other deadlines for areas like insurance and purchase of water credits have been pushed six months.

Additionally, park developers are declining an option to build 200 shared-use parking spaces but will pay $23,736.76 in base rent to the town, up from $21,521.16 instead.

Town documents indicate staff expects no negative financial impact to the town from the changes, but rather additional money from the base rent for the town’s parks system.

The Strand will be a 25-acre water sports complex built on three lakes at Gilbert Regional Park. The $35 million water park is a public-private partnership between Gilbert and The Strand, a locally formed company. Council approved the original agreement Feb. 21, 2019.

The modifications were part of Town Council's consent agenda for Aug. 25.