Now that summer is in full swing and local kids from both sides of the Savannah River are out of school, there is one major disappointment still looming over the CSRA: the absence of the highly promoted Scuttle’s Island water park.
Just last fall, former Scuttle’s Island developer Benjamin Bell, alongside Andrew Thompson of the local investment group Cedar Rock Holdings LLC, announced plans to build a new 40-acre water park in North Augusta by Memorial Day weekend of this year.
The $21.5 million water park would be home to the “tallest water slide in the Southeast,” Bell boasted.
The city of North Augusta immediately bought into the excitement of it all.
“This will be something that families from across the Southeast will be able to enjoy for generations to come,” North Augusta Mayor Lark Jones said following the water park announcement in September.
Bell and Thompson pledged they would build the project off Interstate 20, at exit 5 in North Augusta, so the entire region could have easy access to enjoy the water park.
However, as weeks quickly turned into months following Bell’s initial announcement in North Augusta, the public soon realized something was wrong.
There was absolutely no physical movement on the project, which was originally scheduled to open by May of this year.
Finally, in March, local citizens got some answers.
Thompson, speaking on behalf of Cedar Rock Holdings LLC, announced that the opening date for the water park had been pushed back until at least June.
But that wasn’t all the news.
Thompson also announced that Cedar Rock Holdings had severed all of its ties with Bell. And, not just with Scuttle’s Island project, but also with the Lights of the South attraction in Grovetown.
Now, with Bell off the project, the big question still remained: Will North Augusta ever see the construction and opening of Scuttle’s Island?
Thompson still insists it will happen, but obviously not by this month.
Especially considering the property in North Augusta off I-20 that was intended for the water park has been reportedly sold.
But Thompson is continuing to make big promises of a water park for this region.
“We have all intentions to continue the development of the Scuttle’s Island project and do not foresee this barring any plans to move forward on the site,” Thompson told The Augusta Chronicle in a May 19 statement.
If you believe that, there is a beautiful, very secluded resort community in the heart of Augusta called Hyde Park that the Insider would like to sell you for about $250 million.
So where is the water park going to be located now?
Will it still be in North Augusta off I-20?
Even North Augusta City Manager Todd Glover seems somewhat skeptical these days.
Just last month, Glover told the news media, “I just can’t imagine they could be under construction and open by even September. I think the best-case scenario is 2017.”
This is the same administrator who late last year truly believed that Scuttle’s Island water park was in North Augusta’s near future.
Well, we’ll see about that.
If the plans for Scuttle’s Island don’t pan out in North Augusta, maybe the developers can try to pitch the multi-million-dollar water park to another community.
Let’s see… so, the water park was first proposed in Columbia County back in 2014 and residents there have already had their hopes dashed by the developers.
How about proposing the water park in the city of Augusta?
Folks in Augusta are kind of used to a little disappointment.
For example, the Garden City lost the Augusta GreenJackets’ new ballpark to North Augusta. What’s another failed project?
Or how about Burke County?
The “Bird Dog Capital of the World” could use a little more to brag about than just the expansion of Plant Vogtle.
Those folks need something new to talk about other than plume exposure pathway zone and radioactive contamination.
A non-existent water park might be nice.
Or perhaps the developer of the proposed Scuttle’s Island just need to stop jerking this entire community around and just move on.
After all, there is nothing to see here.