New Water Park and Recreation Site Planned in Poplar Bluff

While you're busy making holiday plans, two Poplar Bluff businessmen are making plans that could change the way you spend your summers. 

Rick Cheshire and Dr. John Patty are developing a new water park and recreation facility, right off Highway 53 in Poplar Bluff.  That means summers in the Heartland may never be the same.  Once the piles of dirt are transformed into putting greens and water slides, you won’t have to drive any further than Poplar Bluff to find big city entertainment.

“It is actually something that we feel like can draw people from quite a large area,” says Patty.  “Jonesboro has nothing like this in Northeast Arkansas, and from Poplar Bluff to Cape Girardeau, we don't know of any water park, especially anything that compares to what we're doing.”  Cheshire doesn’t think there’s a facility that compares between St. Louis and Memphis.

Patty, an obstetrician, and Cheshire, an convenience store owner, dreamed up the five and half million dollar project years ago, but were finally able to hire a contractor and start construction just six weeks ago.  Tom Makowski, of Aquatic Pools and Construction, Inc., is the contractor in charge of making the dream a reality.  The developers plan to call the facility, “Bluff Falls.”

A giant hole in the ground marks start of an 18-thousand square foot wave pool, which is just one of the many attractions that the owners hope will draw visitors in waves.  “There will be a five thousand square foot activity pool for the smaller children,” says Cheshire.  “You'll see a 900-foot lazy river. There'll be a water slide on a 45-foot tower, with two tube slides, and one body slide.”

On the other side of the twelve-and-a-half-acre facility, you can see construction crews hard at work on the future batting cages. Next to that, will sit a go-cart track.  And you can already see the beginning of what promises to be a challenging eighteen-hole miniature golf course.

“This is going to be the biggest thing that ever hit Poplar Bluff,” says Julieanne Keele, who will be the General Manager of the new facility.  “It's great for the kids.  They have nothing to do.”  Bluff Falls will not only give them a place to play, but also a place to work.  Keele says the park will employ ten people in the winter, but as many as seventy during the summer. She's already wading through job applications.

Not only will it bring fun and jobs, Bluff Falls promises to bring one more thing to the area.  “We look for it to help the restaurants here, maybe some of the hotels, and some of the shopping places,” says Cheshire.  “So we look for it to make a very big impact on Poplar Bluff. The tax revenue won't hurt a bit,” he chuckles.

The developers say they expect Bluff Falls to be finished and ready to open by May first, just in time to enjoy the summer of 2003.