Blue Mountain Ski Area and Resort in Palmerton will celebrate the completion of the new entrance for Summit Splash Water Park with a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday at 11 a.m.
The event marks the completion of the new road and the start of the resort's construction project for the water park, which is estimated to cost $10 million and $15 million for the first part, said Barbara Green, co-owner.
Once the project is built out, estimated costs could be $22 million to $30 million for a water park that could accommodate 7,000 visitors in a day and 400,000 visitors during the year, Green said this morning.
The first part of the water park could open in 2015 or early 2016, Green said, noting that it took several years to acquire permits. The process began in 2009.
"We finally got our last permit approval from PennDOT," Green said of the state Department of Transportation.
The resort reserved 48 acres for the water park and recently completed infrastructure work, including installing the new road and water and sewer lines for the park, and will start the construction phase shortly. Serfass Construction of Allentown is the general contractor and is acting as the consultant on the project. Green said the water park contractor has not been finalized and should be settled by April 2014.
While Serfass is the general contractor and primary builder for the project, some work, including soil and erosion work, is done by Blue Mountain's construction workers, Green said.
Once the water park is up and running, it will create about 110 full-time jobs, while part-time staff will increase by about 400 positions, Green said.
Each water park has its own character, and ski resorts across the country are expanding into other outdoor activities, she said.
"I think there is a lot of opportunity for the water park business in the East," Green said. "I think there's a lot of opportunity for each water park to offer everybody something a little bit different," she said. "We're in the entertainment business and the outdoor recreation business."
The resort's goal is to create a more natural water park that offers views of the Pocono valley.