A $20 to $25 million water park project proposed at Enterprise Park at Calverton received approval from the Suffolk County Planning Commission on Wednesday, though the project – which has been in planning stages for over a decade – still must jump a couple of more hurdles before it can become a reality.
Island Water Park, which would contain an 11-acre man-made lake for water skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, and scuba diving, as well as beach volleyball courts, a 50,000-square-foot recreational facility and more, received near-unanimous approval with an 11-1 vote in support, according to a Newsday article.
"Long Island has been deprived for 14 years of a great project," said Eric Scott, owner of Port Jefferson-based Island Water Sports. "But you can't look back on yesterday. You've gotta look forward to tomorrow."
According to Riverhead Town Planning Director Rick Hanley, looking forward, the project still requires a hardship approval from the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Commission, as well as approval from the Town Board – in that order. No agenda has been published yet for the Pine Barren Commission's Dec. 19 meeting.
Scott said in an interview on Thursday morning that the parcel's site plan – previously pitched as two separate, lined ponds – has been changed more times than he'd like to think about in order to gain proper approvals up to this point. A previous proposal called for motor boats towing water skiiers and wakeboards, while the most recent proposal will include an electric cable system.
"I'm not happy about the loss of revenue over 10 years," he said.
But town board approval shouldn't be much of a problem, he said, as the current board has been receptive to the project.
"The last 12 years have been nothing but an ulcer," he said. "But the last year and a half, I at least feel like they're trying to work with you, saying 'Let's get it open.'"
Scott said he is hoping to have the project open by the spring of 2014.