EDITORIAL: Water park off to a rough beginning

The recent events surrounding the new water park at Lake Tobesofkee has everyone concerned, particularly the Macon-Bibb County commissioners. They were informed Tuesday that the park wouldn’t open until next month and there were several changes the owner wanted to make to the contract between him and his company, Spirit of America, and the county. He wanted to delay building the bathroom facilities for five years. The commission agreed to three. We are not experts in the construction of water parks. We do know that most construction projects take longer than estimated, but bathrooms and showers are an item that shouldn’t be skimped on. Like a swimming pool, water parks can quickly turn deadly. Cryptosporidium and E. coli love water parks. One of the suggested precautions is to take a shower before and after getting in the water. If the water park is designed for more than 1,000 people, that’s a lot of portable toilets and showers.

While the commissioners cannot make the owner grow additional funds to build the facilities, it might be a good idea to get its own project manager more deeply involved to make sure no corners are inadvertently being cut since funds do seem to be an issue. This is, after all, the owner’s first water park. Certainly everyone wants the water park to be successful. It will be a welcome addition to the lake if done right. If, however, it’s done wrong, word will spread and infect not just the water park, but all of Tobesofkee.

The lake is a gem. The water park may just be the first of many attractions. The lake is not far from Interstate 475, and it’s a great place to camp, hike, boat, bike and cook out. Its many parks are largely undiscovered, even by Macon-Bibb County residents. The water park may just be, once completed, the shot in the arm the lake needs to raise its profile among the state’s premier recreation areas.

We are hoping for the best with our spines steeled for a bumpy ride.