Macedonia -- Two former Sea World of Ohio water skiers are scheduled to make another presentation about their plan for a waterpark in Longwood Park at city Council's Dec. 13 meeting.
Rob Lewis, a lieutenant with the Macedonia Fire Department, and his business partner Akron resident Eric Elnikar, are co-owners of Fluid Motion Water Sports LLC. They made their first presentation at a Dec. 3 meeting of the Macedonia Planning Commission.
If Council likes the proposal, Mayor Don Kuchta says he will begin working on a formal agreement to have the park built.
Lewis, a lifelong Macedonia resident, describes the facility as a "cable park." It would feature a 10-acre lake built in Longwood Park on Route 82. Towers would suspend a circular overhead cable over the lake supporting tow ropes. Patrons would line up at a dock to grab one of seven or eight tow ropes circulating on the main cable and take their turn waterskiing or riding wakeboards around the lake.
"You can water ski, you can kneeboard, it's not solely focused on wakeboarding," Lewis said.
Kuchta said he hopes the project is supported by Council, both for the good of the city and on a personal level.
"I grew up waterskiing, I love waterskiing. My kids love waterskiing. At my son's engagement party, over the cake, they had a boat pulling waterskiers," Kuchta told the News Leader Dec. 6.
Lewis said there is no proposed agreement, but explained he and Elnikar's tentative proposal is to form some kind of partnership with the city in which Fluid Motion would pay for and build a lake, as well as the infrastructure needed to operate the cable, in exchange for the right to operate that portion of the park as a private business.
Lewis and Elnikar said the final arrangement should be similar to the deal the city made in 2006, when the city's golf course and driving range was build by a private developer on the other side of Route 82.
"We will be trying to work out an agreement where we will lease the lake from the city and we will work out an agreement where the city gets a portion of our profits," Elnikar said.
He estimated the city could get around $50,000 its first year, "and then grow from there."
Kuchta pointed out that anything that draws people to the city is bound to benefit local business.
"As the mayor of the city and as the man who's in charge of economic development, I'm hoping that Council will be in favor of this," he said, adding if members of Council appear to support the project, he'll begin working on a formal proposal with the two developers.
Lewis said the city will determine where the lake would be located.
Kuchta said the tentative plan is to use parkland east of the Manor House on the south side of Route 82, including some property that is now wooded.
Elnikar said their proposed park would be similar to the Wake Nation park in Cincinnati. He said the Dec. 3 special planning commission meeting was requested so a project manager with their partner, The Wake Board Project, could attend. The Wake Board Project is a firm that specializes in the construction of water parks, he said.
According to Lewis and Elnikar, the park would be a destination-type business.
"I skied professionally for Sea World for 10 years," said Lewis. "Eric is an ex-professional waterskier at Sea World with me Our biggest thing is the location. It's in close proximity to Brandywine and Boston Mills ski resort. There's so many kids out there who love skiing and snowboarding," he said.
Annual revenue projections are from $450,000 to $750,000, with 10-15 employees at startup.
Lewis said he and Elnikar are both former professionals in the sport and hope to introduce establish a foothold in a growing industry. Elnikar said the cost of construction would range from $750,000 to $1 million.
Part of the lake could also be used for other purposes, according to Lewis.
"If it does go through, hopefully we can build a beach area with a section roped off for swimming," Lewis said. "In the wintertime, weather permitting, hopefully it can be used for ice skating. We're hoping to use it all season, with a focus on wakeboarding in the summertime."