Round Rock residents air concerns about proposed water park

Kalahari project site. (Image credit: Kalahari Resorts)

Round Rock residents got a chance Tuesday to talk face-to-face with a Kalahari Resort representative about their concerns for a proposed water park.

The City of Round Rock and the resort paired up to host an open house at Ridgeview Middle School. Information slides with commonly asked questions were stationed around the school cafĂ© while Bill Otto, Kalahari’s executive vice president, was in attendance to answer any questions.

“We were impressed with Round Rock as we were looking for site selections throughout Texas,” said Otto “The emphasis the city has had on youth sports and everything that going on at Old Settlers Park sport facility and their desire to be the youth sports capital of Texas was very attractive to us.”

Otto said Round Rock is positioned in an “appealing” part of the state so families from Dallas and Houston can easily access the park.

The $350 million attraction is slated to sit along Hwy 79 across the Dell Diamond. Information slides touted the park will bring 700 new jobs to the city, have a positive economic impact and generate enough revenue to improve surrounding infrastructure for easy traffic flow.

However, that didn’t stop some from questioning the impact the resort will have on traffic, noise, water use and property value.

“It’s environmentally sensitive because it borders Brushy Creek,” said Pamela Oldham, a Round Rock resident of 12 years.

Oldham said she requested an environmental impact study from Kalahari.

Email exchanges from residents and the resort posted on the city website state water for the park will be potable with 180,000 to 260,000 gallons of water used daily.

A Round Rock city representative who studied how neighborhood property values changed when similar resorts developed in nearby Texas neighborhoods said the values were “negligible,” favoring a slight increase.

The city plans to use $30 million in bonds for on and off site improvements that will be repaid by generated resort revenues, that includes improvements to Hwy 79 in the area of the resort.

“We are in a neighborhood. As we plan things, as we’re looking above things, how the building is going to rise, how it’s going to be lit, where outside entertainment may be. All are done with a great sensitivity to our neighbors,” said Otto.

Another open house is scheduled for May 18th, 6-8 at Ridgeview M.S.