WARNER ROBINS -- A deal for a water park some City Council members have been working on behind the scenes is a bad deal, Mayor Chuck Shaheen said on Monday.
The developer doesnt even have financing for a water park, and he wants us to do all this stuff for him, Shaheen said. Why should we appropriate money and stick our necks out for him and the guy doesnt even have financing? Its just stupid.
Shaheen made the remarks after reporters contacted him about a meeting the city council was supposed to have Monday with the Peach County Board of Commissioners. The details of the deal are fuzzy, and one councilman would only say its an economic development project.
Ive already been there when there have been discussions that have come outside of a closed session and I dont feel comfortable talking about things that have gone on in a closed session until the appropriate time that information is supposed to come out, said Councilman Mike Daley.
Daley said hes meeting with the city attorney and possibly the mayor Tuesday to talk about what can be said about the project at this point.
The Monday meeting with Peach County commissioners was canceled, but Daley said the city and county are working to reschedule for Wednesday. Meanwhile, Shaheen said Atlanta developer Jeff Franklin wants to build a water park in the city.
But Daley and Councilman Mike Brashear have been working with Franklin to get financing, something Shaheen said is not a council function.
Shaheen said the two councilmen also have been working on a deal that would have Peach County build a road to the land.
Even Chairman Walker said hes not going to do it, Shaheen said of Peach County Commission Chairman Melvin Walker.
Neither Walker nor Brashear could be reached for comment Monday evening.
Daley wouldnt confirm Shaheens claims, but said he, too, doesnt think its good business practice to promise anything to someone who doesnt have concrete plans.
Shaheen said he doesnt know where the park would be built, but Warner Robins shares just a sliver of its city boundaries with Peach County, which is on either side of Interstate 75.
Councilwoman Carolyn Robbins, Daley and Shaheen said the park has been discussed since last year in closed sessions, though Shaheen said itd been put on the back burner.
Its not even a priority and all of a sudden were having called meetings to discuss it, Shaheen said.
Councilwoman Robbins said the land would be near the visitors center council has talked about putting on Veterans Parkway near I-75.
She said she doesnt know anything about deals being made on the water park, but it could be good for job growth and developing the western end of town.
Her concern was that announcing the prospect of a water park in the area could negatively impact the land deal the city is negotiating for the visitors center. Councilman Daron Lee said only that hes not for the water park at this time because the sports complex and projects on the special purpose local option sales taxes from 2001 and 2006 havent been completed.
Shaheen said hes not opposed to a water park in the city. In fact, he said, the owners of Rigbys Fun Center and Johnny Gs have mentioned intentions to build one.
To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.