Sunday, July 27, 2003

Planned water park not a concern



By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cedar Fair L.P., owner of Cedar Point, is looking into building an indoor water park at the Sandusky amusement park that would be open year-round. But representatives from The Beach Waterpark and Paramount's Kings Island, both located in Mason, are not too concerned about the potential in-state competition.

"Nearly every major city around us has their own major water park in their own back yard," says Jeffrey Siebert, Kings Island spokesman. "But what's interesting with water parks is that they have a great regional appeal."

Sandusky-based Cedar Fair, owner of six amusement parks and five water parks, has asked the city of Sandusky for tax incentives about a possible expansion of its Radisson Harbour Inn property. It hopes to upgrade the 237-room hotel and adjourning T.G.I. Friday's restaurant into a year-round family resort that would include an indoor water park.

"Indoor water parks have become a trend in the United States," says Janice Witherow, Cedar Point spokeswoman. "We are simply investigating the feasibility."

Local park officials say their attendance comes mostly from the Tristate, though The Beach has seen an increase in visitors from West Virginia and Indianapolis since the Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau started running promotional ads there.

And it's that quick drive to a local cool spot that seems to keep many visitors coming back.

"Any other water park in Ohio is going to be a little bit of a threat," says Tara Nahrup, the park's public relations manager. "But it's a totally different experience when you're talking about an indoor water park and an outdoor water park like ours.

"I think it's going to be a benefit of going to Cedar Point. I don't think anyone's going to go up there just because of a water park."

E-mail esolvig@enquirer.com




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