CLEAR LAKE | It's still in the preliminary stages, but a project costing more than $100 million could be built on the former site of Andrews Prestressed Concrete, just east of Interstate 35.
Clear Lake City Administrator Scott Flory said via email that a feasibility study for the project is still in progress. The project would include a waterpark, hotel and travel sports arena complex.
Flory emphasized the project is not a city proposal, and that the study did not include an assessment of "need" for any potential facility.
"It also was not a hotel market analysis," Flory said. "The feasibility analysis simply made an opinion on whether or not, under certain assumed economic and fiscal conditions, the idea or concept could be viable."
Snyder Construction started that feasibility study roughly seven to eight weeks ago, according to Dale Snyder, a co-owner of the company.
Snyder said local entrepreneur Nick Ford first brought the idea to Snyder Construction and other local officials. Ford told the Globe Gazette Monday afternoon that plans are still preliminary, but did outline some aspects of the project.
Right now, he doesn't believe a swimming pool or ice arena will be part of the travel sports complex. It would probably include courts for basketball, volleyball, dance, cheer and similar sports.
The need for that type of complex is nationwide, Ford added. He added the indoor waterpark and hotel would be built alongside it for entertainment and convenience for families attending competitions.
"Bring your bored, bring your tired, bring your hungry is what I’ve created in my mind," Ford said, adding: "We’re really early in this, it’s just a concept right now."
He added funding the project with public and private money, along with building partnerships between developers and local officials, is important right now.
In a brief interview with the Globe Gazette, Dale also said the study is in the preliminary stages. He declined to state the overall cost of the project, but did say it would exceed $100 million.
"Until we come out with more specifics, I don’t want to get people excited and have it not happen," Dale said.
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He also declined to comment on how the project would be funded, or how much the feasibility study would cost. He did state the study started due to the site location and the needs the travel sports facilities would fill.
"Your travel sports when you do research into that, it’s a growing entity around the country," Dale said. "And with the waterpark with it, it would be a unique complex and there’s not one like it very close by."
He doesn't believe hockey will be part of the plans.
"It wasn’t in the original vision," Dale said.
He added a hotel would have to be part of the complex, in order to fill lodging needs. Both Flory and Dale said the project would require 70-80 acres of land, which is why the I-35 site is being considered.
One downtown business owner, Kelli Mason of Lake Lifestyle, strongly supports the project. She said he talked with Ford for over an hour about it, and believes it would improve business during slower months.
Mason also sees a need for the travel sports complex, citing growing needs of local families.
"I think that’s a huge untapped market, that’s how families are socializing nowadays," she said. "That’s how me and my kids used to spend all of our weekends."
"It impacts our area dramatically, but keeps our makeup of the downtown pretty much the same," Mason added.
Flory said city officials have attended focus group meetings on topic, along with chamber of commerce members, economic development officials and local business leaders.
"Once again, this is not a city initiated or contemplated project," Flory said. "The city has simply been an invited party to some dialogue on the idea."