Water playground for Chehaw under study - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Water playground for Chehaw under study

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Chehaw Park officials say they want a simple, small water playground. But some city and county leaders dream of much bigger, more extravagant and expensive water play area.

Savannah Manes and her friends from Eufaula, Alabama say a water playground at Chehaw would be awesome.

Manes said "Definitely, it's really hot today. It's been nice to play in the water."

Albany's Mayor says he supports a large water park at Chehaw.

Dr. Willie Adams said "No question about it. We are blessed with all the water and we don't have a water park." But you think it's coming. It's going to happen? Adams said "Oh, yea, I think so."

Chehaw Executive Director Doug Porter said "This probably is the kind of area that we could come in and not have a huge impact."

But Chehaw leaders say their thoughts are more of a small water playground to go along with their current playground.

 Porter said "Something relatively simple, relatively low cost. We could put that in out here, and see how people like it. Then if it grows, it can grow into something bigger down the road."

But he says a huge water park would not be keeping with their mission of a South Georgia natural park and zoo.

Porter said "We could have roller coasters and circus rides, but Chehaw has no intention of moving in that direction. The big water park like you would see down at Wild Adventures with wave pools and water slides, I have a hard time imagining us moving in that direction."

But there has been talk for years that taking advantage of Chehaw's water resources with a big water park. Park attendance is up 9 percent over last year,  and some civic leaders think the big water park would be a winning economic development idea.

Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard said "It could grow our economy. Provide a few jobs. I think with the right company that would be willing to make that investment I think it's got enormous potential, quite frankly."

But Chehaw officials say that should be up to a private business to develop, but not at their park. They are studying a small playground and fountain feature that they hope will be ready by next summer. Savannah and her friends say that sounds like a great idea to them.

But of course money is a factor. Porter says there is no money allocated yet to build the water playground, and the Park Authority has not OK'd the idea.

Chehaw leaders are also considering building more campgrounds and cabins closer to the river.

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