KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Developers will present a $330 million proposal Monday evening of what they envision should replace the now defunct Schlitterbahn water park site.
Ultimately, Wyandotte County officials will have to decide if they approve of Homefield LLC’s plan and if and how much in STAR bonds they’d like to use on the project.
Schlitterbahn water park wasn’t open this summer or last summer. In the summers of 2017 and 2018, the park was open — but not fully. It was the downfall that followed the tragic death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab on the Verruckt water slide, which has since been demolished.
The new developers said the park needs a fresh start.
“Obviously there was a terrible tragedy that occurred out there, and it’s left a bad taste and a bad mark in both the city and the state,” said Robb Heineman, CEO and founder of Homefield LLC.
Heineman said the positive energy of youth sports could be that fresh start the park needs.
The agency’s plans include a 200,000-square-foot amateur sports complex, a 6-8 acre man-made lake for water sports like kayaking or dragon boat races, and multiple baseball fields. The 230-acre space is also planned to include BMX and rope courses, an esports pavilion and an RV park.
All of the structures would be built on the footprint of the Schlitterbahn water park, expanding out into the property.
“That’s really the first phase,” Heineman said.
Homefield LLC plans to bringing together $200 million in private capital and is also seeking $130 million STAR bonds, which would needing approval from the Wyandotte Economic Development Council.
Some nearby residents said it’s time something happens with Schlitterbahn.
Amy White, who lives nearby, said she has three children who all play multiple sports and would appreciate a new venue in the city for activities.
“It’s just wasted space. It really is. It’s kind of a disappointment that didn’t work out, but there needs to be something there,” White said.
On Monday night, developers will present their term sheet that they have negotiated with the city and state. They said if they are approved for everything on a general or speedy timeline, parts of the sports facilities could start opening as early as Spring 2022.