The wrought iron gates at Point Mallard water park
Lazy days coming here
Point Mallard set to embark on its most extensive upgrade ever: Lazy River
By Tiffeny Owens
The wrought iron gates at Point Mallard water park closed Monday, but when they swing open next Memorial Day weekend, swimmers will be greeted by a 1,000-foot Lazy River — complete with geysers, waterfall mountain and splash pad, new water slides, concessions and parking.
The 42-year-old park is set to nearly double in size, expanding on the west side where a new archery area opened this summer. Parking will be updated, and restrooms and lockers added.
The Olympic pool will be redone and a new entrance constructed.
Contractors with Burleson pools of Hampton Cove and Extreme Waterslides of Crump, Tenn., will converge on the site to construct the $3.8 million project that’s broken into separate work phases: Lazy River, Olympic pool renovation, water slides, concessions/restrooms/entrance, and the parking lot, said Wally Terry, Decatur’s community and economic development director.
“We wanted to move quickly on getting everything in place so work could begin right after the water park closes,” Council President Gary Hammon said.
The project is being financed with the combination of money generated by a bond refinancing and a tax-exempt bank loan. Last month, the city refinanced a 30-year, $19.9 million bond taken out in 2003, of which $15 million is outstanding, for a lower interest rate. The refinancing will save the city $2.3 million in debt-service payments.
Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Dunlap expects the increased revenue from the new water rides to pay for the renovation in 10 years or sooner. Each time Point Mallard has added an attraction, its revenue has surged by double-digits, he said.
The water park, named after J. Gilmer Blackburn, who conceived it, is among the most affordable in the state.
While District 1 Councilman Billy Jackson agreed with other councilmen on the bond refinance, he broke with them on using the money on Point Mallard. He opposed the project back in 2008 as council president.
“The project is a good one, but I think we have other priorities we need to address first for residents,” Jackson. “We haven’t been cleaning out alleys. Our streets are terrible and need repaving. We have drainage problems we need to fix.”
Officials supporting the overhaul contend it will generate more money for the city aside from increased admissions with more visitors spending money in town for food, gas, shopping and lodging.