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Approval Expected For $110M Water Park In Ft. Lauderdale

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Schlitterbahn Ft. Lauderdale Rendering (Source: City of Ft. Lauderdale)

Schlitterbahn Ft. Lauderdale Rendering (Source: City of Ft. Lauderdale)

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A $110 million waterpark in Ft. Lauderdale, the likes of which have never been seen before, may finally get off the drawing board and be built.

The City of Ft. Lauderdale confirms they are nearing the end of negotiations with the Federal Aviation Administration and hope the deal for the water park will be finalized by late December or early January 2014.

“We’ve submitted a term sheet to the FAA, an outline with all the particulars they need to know,” city spokesman Chaz Adams tells CBS 4 News.

“Construction could start as early as next year,” said Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler.

Seiler has been a huge proponent of the project since the city starting talking about building a water park back in 2009.

“When we started talking about it then, it was the height of the recession and we thought it would create thousands of jobs. But now we’re seeing 48 months of tourism growth, five percent unemployment. It’s going to add to the jobs but it’s going to create an exciting destination for Ft. Lauderdale.”

Seiler concedes the FAA has been slow to bless the project.

“It’s a tough issue. The executive airport is one of the top ten in the country. But there’s room for both out there. They want to make sure when the deal is done that the agreement is a fair market value. No one is getting a sweetheart deal.”

The 64-acre site is next to the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, just off Commercial Boulevard and west of I-95. The old Ft. Lauderdale stadium that used to be the spring training home of the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles will be demolished. But Lockhart Stadium next door will be refurbished and incorporated into the design plan.

Mayor Seiler said the location is ideal because it can accommodate extra traffic. The site is close to the interstate, the turnpike and borders Commercial Boulevard to the south and Cypress Creek Road to the north. It is close to the interstate, the Florida turnpike and Commercial Boulevard and Schlitterbahn, the Dallas based Waterpark Company, will run the park and pay nearly one million dollars a year in rental fees to the city.

The 110 million dollar park will have state of the art water slides and a lazy river ride on inner tubes that will circle Lockhart Stadium.

Families, like the Hoods who are visiting from New York, told CBS4’s Joan Murray they would come back to South Florida just to experience the new water park.

Seven-year-old Sebastian said he can’t wait to experience the “water slides, and spray. It’s something for kids!”

Sebastian’s idea is exactly what the city has in mind.

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