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NEWS: Schlitterbahn park coming to Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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Giant water park proposed at Fort Lauderdale Stadium



A national water park company has its eyes on Fort Lauderdale Stadium and neighboring Lockhart Stadium for a $110 million water-park-hotel-retail sports destination, the first of its kind in Broward County.


Schlitterbahn Development Group, which has water parks in Texas and Kansas, offered the plan to the city Friday, but it hasn't been publicly aired or discussed.


It is the latest of three proposals for use of Fort Lauderdale Stadium, left vacant in December when the Baltimore Orioles moved their spring training base to Sarasota.


The other two proposals: Traffic Sports USA, owner of professional soccer team Miami FC, wants to transform the stadium to a soccer academy; Federal League wants to open a baseball academy.


Any use has to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, original owner of the land under both Lockhart and Fort Lauderdale stadiums. The land was given to the city in 1947, for aviation use, along with the land under adjacent Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The FAA insists the Fort Lauderdale Stadium site be used for aviation uses, or that fair market rent be paid to the FAA.


It was that FAA stance that dashed the Orioles' hopes to build a new stadium there, and has hampered the city's search for new suitors for the site.


Commissioners debated the stadium's fate Tuesday, agreeing to keep it open another seven months, though it's losing money. Traffic Sports will pay rent so the Miami FC can practice there; the team's games are played next door at Lockhart. Other groups, including a motorcycle driver training program and a Federal League semi-pro baseball team, also rent Fort Lauderdale Stadium.


"We're at a crossroads,'' said Mayor Jack Seiler. "We either close this facility and never reopen it,'' or keep it open and "keep our options open.''


Northeast Fort Lauderdale resident Chuck Malkus urged commissioners to view the stadium as a public park, not a revenue-maker. Don't close or demolish it, he pleaded.


"It's a gem that's been underutilized,'' he said.


Schlitterbahn's proposal will be sent to the FAA for review. The company's lawyer, Jim Blosser, said the company is willing to pay fair market rent. The proposal described a sports complex, including hotel, with activities "from the mild to the wild.'' The stadiums would remain, with enhancements, and still could be used for "intramural team sports and local recreational team sports use,'' according to the written proposal.


The company says its name is a "made-up German word'' loosely translated to "slippery road.''


A major water park was proposed last year at the city's Aquatic Complex at the beach, but Blosser, who also represents that proposer, said the project has since been deemed not feasible, and has been altered to propose massive wave pools.

Copyright © 2010, South Florida Sun-Sentinel



Edited by jedimaster1227
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I was reading this in the news a few days ago and I'm only a few miles from Lockhart Stadium.


I could only dream that this would come true. Plus, maybe it would be some good competition for Rapids Water Park and I won't have to drive an hour to get there.

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Rapids is an OK waterpark but still 1 1/2 hours from my house,but a brand new Shlitterbahn would be amazing and closer to me.I really hope this one does get built seeing as how I'm loosing hope for the proposed waterpark and theme park that's supposed to be getting built next to the Miami Metrozoo that would be 5 minutes from me.

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  • 2 months later...

Just to refresh this. Saw this in the Sun-Sentinel this morning.




Fort Lauderdale plans major water park resort near executive airport


FORT LAUDERDALE The city's aging sports stadiums near the executive airport could be turned into a major water park resort within the next two years.


The park would consist of giant river systems where visitors can ride inner tubes or swim between water slides, wave pools, downhill rapids and beaches. Treehouse-style hotel rooms would surround the resort. While one stadium would be partially torn down, the other would remain available for team sports, and new athletic fields would be built nearby.


City commissioners agreed Tuesday to negotiate a deal with Schlitterbahn Development Group for the use of the Lockhart and Fort Lauderdale stadium property. The developers estimate the project will cost $110 million and draw up to 10,000 visitors a day.


"We are bringing a resort feel, and it will be the equivalent or better than Atlantis in the Bahamas," said Jeff Henry with Schlitterbahn. "It will be the No. 1 destination in Fort Lauderdale other than the beach. It is a phenomenal facility, and there is no other place like it in the United States."


The fate of the stadiums has been up in the air since the Baltimore Orioles moved its spring training operations to Sarasota in December. Schlitterbahn was the only one of four proposals to the city that was acceptable to the Federal Aviation Administration, which has a strong say in the land's use.


The FAA dashed the Orioles' hopes of replacing the stadium and has hampered the search for new suitors for the site since. The agency gave the property along with the land underneath Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport to the city in 1947 under condition that it be used for aviation purposes or that fair market rent be paid.


Schlitterbahn has water parks in Kansas and Texas and has been involved in the development of a water park in Dubai and the expansion of Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas. It has worked with the FAA on its park in Galveston, Texas, and promised Fort Lauderdale that it could reach terms with the agency on rent.


Fort Lauderdale Stadium has been rented temporarily to a professional soccer team while long-term plans are worked out. Traffic Sports, the owner of the Miami FC soccer team, manages the stadium for the next year and uses it as a practice facility.


Schlitterbahn's proposal involves no public tax dollars, and developers estimate the park would have a direct economic impact of $267.4 million a year. The other three proposals the city considered were for a baseball facility, a soccer complex and a multiple sports center.


"This is something I'm extremely excited about," Mayor Jack Seiler said. "This seems to be a first-class operation everywhere they do it. I love the concept and what they're trying to do here."


Under the plans, most of Fort Lauderdale Stadium would be demolished to make way for the water park. The remaining part of the stadium would be transformed into a castle-like tower surrounding by topiaries marking the park's entrance.


A computer-controlled, water-based conveyor system would run throughout the park. There would be artificial wave pools, pool-to-pool chutes and a network of rapids that is described as the "thrill of a rollercoaster with the fun of a water slide." There would be five pools for young children and two pools dedicated to volleyball and basketball.


The proposal comes at the same time the city is exploring the renovation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame complex.


Those plans call for two new Olympic-size swimming pools, an iconic dive tower and state-of-the-art artificial surf machines. Schlitterbahn said the proposals are not in conflict, noting that their wave rides would be more geared toward amateurs than those at the hall of fame.


Developers said the daily cost of admission at its park is $39.95, but discounts and passes are available. They said the 300 hotel rooms would range in price from $150 to $1,000.


Lockhart Stadium would remain intact, even though some of the water rides would run around its edge and underneath the bleachers. The facility would be upgraded to be a tournament-size multi-use field that meets the standards for the National Federation of State High School Associations and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.


Developers said they want Lockhart to continue to be used by the Broward School District and envision it being used by the pro soccer team and for concerts.


Schlitterbahn plans to have virtual golf, baseball and softball simulators for visitors as well. Up to four athletic fields could also be built on the eastern edge of the property and could be used by intramural teams.


With Tuesday's decision, Schlitterbahn now must negotiate a contract with the city and FAA before construction could begin. The company said Lockhart Stadium would remain open throughout construction, but Fort Lauderdale Stadium would have to close within a year.


Scott Wyman can be reached at swyman@sunsentinel.com or 954-356-4511.

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If you South Floridians get a Schlitterbahn because of Sarasota taking away your team, I'm totally taking credit!!!!


(former Sarasotian)


Yay for Sarasota!


lived there for 14 years. Though it's starting to go downhill kinda now

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Great news,I so hope it does get built as I've been waiting for the proposed Miami Metrozoo waterpark that's been in the planning stages for like 10 years now.Right now I have an hour and a half drive to the nearest waterpark,Rapids in West Palm Beach which is OK but I'm sure a brand new Shlitterbahn will top it and will shorten my drive to 45 minutes.It won't be as close as that proposed Metrozoo waterpark which would be 5 minutes away but I love waterparks and would probably hit that Ft.Lauderdale Shlitterbahn several times every year.

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Thanks for posting that, Scott!


Although I wish there was a way to save both stadiums, overall, I still really like this idea and location. If it goes through, I'll have immediate family, a great casino, and a quality water park all within a few miles!

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Just watched an interview with the mayor of Fort Lauderdale. He basically said they are in the final negotiation stages with Schlitterbahn. After that, they have to negotiate with the FAA in regards to the property. I'm pretty sure this is a go.


Also, unless I'm reading it wrong, it looks like Schlitterbahn already has a good relationship with the FAA on the Galveston property.

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  • 4 months later...
A main feature at the park would be a Transportainment river system, which would move guests throughout the park, according to a proposal Schlitterbahn gave the city. The version at Rio Aventura, Schlitterbahn's park in South Padre Island, Texas, is a half-mile long.


Guests begin by entering from a variety of beaches scattered throughout the park or from a wave pool by riding on a conveyor system called the AquaVeyer.


They float through slow-moving water and whitewater rapids, detouring through two tube chutes and three Master Blaster uphill water coasters, the proposal says. Water injectors are used to push riders uphill.


Another feature is the Tidal Wave River, which is described as a computer-controlled, endless river with adjustable wave action.


The existing 18,500-seat Lockhart Stadium and nearby Fort Lauderdale Stadium, previously used by the Baltimore Orioles for spring training, would be incorporated into the park to create a sports village.


The Broward County Sports Hall of Fame, which has honored such athletes as boxing trainer Angelo Dundee, tennis player Chris Evert, auto racer Andy Granatelli and NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino, would get a permanent home on the property.


Virtual golf, baseball and softball simulators are also planned.


The economic impact is estimated at $400 million.



The "Master Plan."


This is the most unique and interesting part of the plan - how the parts will weave under the actual stadium next door?

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Being a lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan (yes, we exist) and a former resident in Fort Lauderdale, I'm kind of outraged towards the FAA because their reasoning for not taking the O's for another fifteen year contract was that they wanted to tear down the baseball stadium to build a new runway.


Since leaving FLL in 2007, FLL is my home away from home. Kind of sad that I get down there often and I can't see my O's in the late winter months.


For Schlitterbahn, I think this is a great location.


Conviently located right off I-95, not too far from the Florida Turnpike, and have a very large market to draw from between West Palm, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.


I could easily see families traveling from the north a couple of hours south to do something different than the Disney/Universal/BGT thing.

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^ It's just a small executive airport. I also lived two miles from the place for 25 years, and hardly ever noticed the airport, even during Fort Lauderdale Yankees/Fort Lauderdale Red Sox Single A games. Plus, most of the surrounding buildings will probably be taller than the tallest ride there anyway.



^Creepy that I was JUST on this topic about to do the same thing!! Mind stalking!

That's just a small sampling of my superhuman powers.

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This is from the September meeting with the City of Fort Lauderdale:


Mayor Seiler announced that any citizen wishing to receive a personal notice from the

Florida Department of Community Affairs of the state’s intentions with respect to this

amendment may provide their contact information with the Assistant City Clerk. He

opened the floor for public comment.


John Barrett, president of Twin Lakes North Homeowners Association, advised that the

residents of Twin Lakes North have just become aware of the proposed water park and,

or amusement park and are opposed to it. They have become accustomed to the

occasional noise from the stadium and Calvary Chapel, but believed this park would

increase traffic, noise and homeless pan-handling would be intolerable. They believe

that neighborhood streets will become unsafe. They are also concerned about

emergency vehicle response time being impacted. He noted that the president of Palm

Aire East could not attend this evening, but indicated to him that many residents in Palm

Aire East are also opposed. The neighborhood is concerned about impact to home

values and quality of life.


Jordana Jarjura, representing Schlitterbahn Development Group, offered to answer any

questions. She noted there are many steps in the process and Schlitterbahn has not yet

began to meet with residents, City staff and prepare a traffic study.


My favorite quote "homeless pan-handling would be intolerable".


Meeting Minutes

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He noted that the president of Palm

Aire East could not attend this evening, but indicated to him that many residents in Palm

Aire East are also opposed. The neighborhood is concerned about impact to home

values and quality of life.

Aren't most of the residents of Palm Aire near death anyway?


Seriously though, there's been a huge casino across the street from Palm Aire for the last few years now. The neighborhood hasn't exactly turned into Compton because of it. This is all just typical South Floridians bitching about anything and everything.

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"ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT, AND ALL RIGHT. Another Schlitterbahn park is being build, and it's on the East Coast this time"


From the news that I read it sounds like this park would have a few things in common with the park at San Padre, Texas (especially with that bit about conveyor system that enables tube riders to travel from one side of the park to the other), plus add one more exciting reason to come to Fort Lauderdale. I've been to the main Schlitterbahn a few times (the best water park in the world), but I could never find the time nor opportunity to visit the one at San Padre. If this park does and ever gets built and opened, then you can bet I'd be making plans to go there.


"And I hope you'll be making plans to lay your head upon me and have dreams of Florida's Schlitterbahn."

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