“America’s Biggest Little Water Park” is about to get bigger due to a $12 million expansion that includes two new rides set to open this summer.
The SplashDown Beach project is expected to be completed around summer 2015, which will add an extra eight acres to the current 18 operating acres of water fun and three-acre reserve parking lot.
“Steve Turk purchased the park in 2004 and continually invested in it. He wanted to see it grow,” SplashDown Beach General Manager Andrew Chafatelli said. In a press release, Turk said: “This will be the largest single expansion at SplashDown Beach since we purchased the park in 2004. We have created a true family destination for summer fun.” Turk and his wife saw the potential in purchasing the property because of its closeness to Interstate 84 and Route 9, he said. “The original owner had the property up for sale and we thought that was the best move for us,” Turk said. “We agreed with the elementary-aged market and decided to keep the park at a moderate size so the young families don’t feel overrun by teens.”
SplashDown Beach has a contract with HIT Entertainment, providers of children’s entertainment. The contract allowed them to build the first permanent water park attraction based on the cartoon character Bob the Builder.
“We have a contract with Bob the Builder and wanted to bring another character in; Dizzy seemed like the perfect character,” Chafatelli said. Dizzy is the cement mixer on Bob’s team. The Turks spent approximately $10,000 on the two new rides and grounds surrounding them.
Dizzy’s Water Whirler, a teacup-shaped ride that can accommodate up to 24 people, is up and running now. Arctic Plunge Racer, the first of two five-story family raft rides, will open later this summer. A four-story water playground with multiple slides, water cannons and dumping buckets will go into the Bob the Builder-themed area later in the expansion.
Local business partners that advertise SplashDown Beach are happy about the benefits they will receive from the expansion. “I anticipate that our business will grow as a result of the expansion,” Scott Pawenski of EmbroidMe, a partner of SplashDown Beach, said in an email. “In our particular case, the additional rides will require additional staff, which translates into the need for more uniforms.”
Cosimo’s Catering, another local supplier of SplashDown Beach, is looking forward to the increase in business not only in the park at Cosimo’s Pizza and Shipwreck Grill and Cafe but in future venues as well. “It’s going to help us eventually with more outlets. Any expansion is a good thing,” SplashDown Cosimo’s Catering Manager Frank Allen said.
The expansion will provide more than 150 seasonal job opportunities for park attendants, ride attendants and other staff positions when completed, Chafatelli said. In a letter to the Poughkeepsie Journal on Dec. 30, Jessica Stevens from Beacon said the water park is a major source of income for the area and an expansion can only be beneficial economically.
Martina Marchese, Poughkeepsie Journal