Lake revitalization poses no threat to water park

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According to the Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee, 96 percent of people surveyed think Lake Wichita would be an economic benefit to the community.
According to the Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee, 96 percent of people surveyed think Lake Wichita would be an economic benefit to the community.

Over the past three years the members of the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project have been at work to restore Lake Wichita to its former glory.

Even with the promise of large aquatic recreation areas incorporated into the final plan of the lake, there is no concern for the project’s potential impact on Castaway Cove.

“Lake Wichita and Castaway Cove should not get in the way of each other or negatively affect business of one another,” said Steve Garner, chair of the Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee. “The two are very different experiences.”

If the recreation opportunities at Lake Wichita to be completed in five to eight years if committee members get funding, more affordable to people who already cannot afford to go to Castaway Cove, then that is not hurting the water park’s business. It is just giving options to the public, said Lang.

“Instead of taking away from the water park, I see the revitalized lake as increasing opportunities. Not everyone can afford to go to Castaway Cove and the lake can offer something for those people to do, as well as offer something to draw more people to Wichita Falls,” said Tom Lang, ex-officio member of the Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee.

Castaway Cove Park Manager Steve Vaughn said, “I am very supportive of the lake project and I’m not worried at all that it would hurt Castaway Cove. It will be aimed at people who want to fish or go boating. That is different than what we offer here at the park, so I do not see Lake Wichita as competition. I see the lake as something that could help the water park.”

In addition, Lang, Vaughn, and Garner predict the revitalization of Lake Wichita will help all of Wichita Falls, even Castaway Cove which is also owned by the city.

Vaughn said, “Castaway Cove could easily benefit from the lake revitalization project. It is going to be something that brings people into town and the water park is another thing they have to do once they are here. Since the two are different experiences, a family could come to town and spend one day at the lake and the next day here.”

Vaughn pointed out the possibility that having both attractions in Wichita Falls could make some visitors extend their stay. And if more people are staying in town longer, that results in economic growth for Wichita Falls.

Garner said, “Lake Wichita will keep people in town who would normally go out of town to Lake Arrowhead or other lakes in the area. It could also bring others from out of town to Wichita Falls as it offers an alternative to other lakes. With more people coming into town, that could also mean more customers for Castaway Cove.”

Lang gave more reasons why Lake Wichita and Castaway Cove could help each other out, and how Lake Wichita could generally boost the economy of Wichita Falls.

“Lake Arrowhead is too far for a short trip. You can’t come home from work and pack up to go to for the day. This lets people take short trips to the lake with little planning. Having an attraction like Lake Wichita will cause less financial leakage. Money will stay in Wichita Falls and continue to circulate here. That in turn helps the whole city, even the water park could see a benefit from it,” said Lang.

Vaughn also said he sees the benefit that the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project will bring to all of Wichita Falls, not just the water park. He said he was in full support of the cause.

Vaughn expressed his confidence regarding the future of Castaway Cove when he said, “I’m not worried. We are going along with scheduled maintenance and prep for the park to open this summer as we always do. we are actually adding on. We are in the process of having a new Nathan’s hotdog stand built. I wouldn’t approve a building project like that if I did not think that the park was here to stay.”

Lake Wichita will have a rock climbing area, floating playground, and a personal watercraft park among other recreational opportunities. These things are not offered at the water park and the lake will not have waterslides or rides, which means nothing built at the lake will be redundant compared to the water park.

The Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee is still looking for donations to fund the $40 – $45 million project, and as Lang said, “You don’t have to be a millionaire to help.”

For more information on the project: