Pflugerville water park expected to bring jobs and economic impact


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

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Posted on December 5, 2013 at 7:58 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 8:00 PM

Hawaiian Falls Water Park

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PFLUGERVILLE, Texas -- A 23-acre water park is now under construction in Pflugerville on FM 685 near State Highway 130. The ceremonial groundbreaking took place Thursday morning, but it's not just fun that's a factor.

Pflugerville is counting on a huge economic impact from the park. City leaders said two of the three new hotels about to be built in the city are due to the water park deal. Throw in the adventure park and conference center also being built on the property, and there will be new, year-round revenue coming into Pflugerville.

The Hawaiian Falls water park has gone from an idea to reality.

"One of our council's primary objectives was not only to increase our tax base, but also to create a destination in Pflugerville," said Pflugerville Mayor Jeff Coleman.

The park will sit on 23 acres of land, by far Hawaiian Falls' largest park. It will accommodate about 16,000 visitors a day. Compare that to the 4,000 a day average at the company's other Texas parks.

"Everyone is coming to Texas," said David Busch, Hawaiian Falls CEO. "Everybody wants to come to Texas, and they especially want to come to Austin."  

Busch said his company has been meeting with about seven other Central Texas communities over the past several years.

"Some were very serious negotiations, but Pflugerville actually stepped up and said, 'We want to do this,'" said Busch.

"For years, Pflugervillians have gone into the other cities in Central Texas for their entertainment," said Coleman. "There's really been no reason for residents of Cedar Park, Leander or Austin to come into Pflugerville. We saw this as a way to actually draw people from outside of the city of Pflugerville into the city of Pflugerville."

The water park will create 300 seasonal jobs. The Aloha Conference Center and indoor/outdoor adventure park will be open year round, which will insure 100 full-time jobs. City leaders project a $30 million economic impact the first year.

10-year-old Kiera McMurtrie had her own reasons to be excited about the project.

"I was excited that it's not just a water park," she said.  "It has a zip-lining and adventures, and I thought that was pretty cool."The Hawaiian Falls water and adventure parks as well as the conference center should be up and running by Memorial Day.