FORT VALLEY -- Peach County commissioners wanted to finalize a deal Thursday to help a businessman build a water park along Russell Parkway between Interstate 75 and U.S. 41, but commissioners paused when they saw the contract.
Commissioners thought they would be signing a deal with a company run by the water park’s developer, Jeff Franklin. Instead, the contract presented to them was with a company run by a Macon land developer, Tim Thornton, who wants to build a commercial subdivision, with the park inside.
Commissioners said they were willing to put as much as $300,000 toward building a road for the water park, which they say has to be built.
“We don’t want to do (the deal) with anyone in particular,” Commission Chairman Melvin E. Walker Jr. said. “We just want to get the water park built.”
Peach County Attorney Jeff Liipfert said he will try to rework the contract for commissioners’ approval. All commissioners appeared to be strongly in favor of moving the water park project along.
“We made an agreement to do this,” Commissioner Roy Lewis told his colleagues. “We need to stick to our word but figure out how to get the paperwork done properly.”
In essence, the draft contract called for the county to build a road in a commercial subdivision, but it didn’t specifically require the water park to be built. Planned revisions would require the park to be built and make its developer a part of the contract.
Commissioners said they’re willing to build an entrance road from Russell Parkway near U.S. 41, which would then lead into Thornton’s larger commercial subdivision and on to a cul-de-sac where the park would be located. Thornton’s company would pay to connect the road from the back of the planned commercial subdivision to Lakeview Road.
The water park would be completely within Peach County but also within the Warner Robins city limits, which extend from Houston County into Peach. The site is close to a shopping center that hosts Monkey Joe’s.
Warner Robins will take over the roads after they’re built, Liipfert said.
Peach County Administrator Marcia Johnson told The Telegraph that Franklin had looked at several sites in the area, including a location on the other side of Interstate 75 and another along Vietnam Veterans Memorial Parkway.
Commissioner Martin Moseley said the park could include a lazy river, a wave pool and slides. Construction of the various pools could begin in October, and the park could spur more development for Peach County.
“We feel like it’ll be a good investment,” Moseley said.
Information on the size or total cost of the planned water park was not available Thursday.
Steve Rigby, the developer of Rigby’s Entertainment Complex near Ga. 96 and Lake Joy Road, also has talked about developing a different water park in the area.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.