Plans move slowly for whitewater park on Delaware River
PORT JERVIS – Construction of a whitewater park on the Delaware River at Port Jervis could cost as little as $300,000 or as much as $5 million depending upon how many extra amenities are included.
Shane Siegel, a project engineer for Recreation Engineering and Planning, briefed city residents Wednesday evening and listed several sites nearby that would be viable as a result of a feasibility study. The Colorado based company builds boater parks all over the nation.
Whitewater parks utilize underwater structures to create waves for kayaking or tubing. Coffer dams are built to divert parts of the river for construction, Siegel explained. Since three out of four visitors to these parks typically are not kayakers, he says, they design resting areas and trails for foot traffic. The deepened pools created by the drops also allow for an improved fishery.
“Some of my focus is on the kayaking and high performance features and the competitions that we want to have here,” he said. “Everybody needs to realize that this is really the attraction. Sometimes I call the kayakers the monkeys that are out there showing off.”
An Orange County economic feasibility study projected tourists will spend anywhere from $10 million to $30 million in the community with the inclusion of the park. Port Jervis Mayor Russell Potter said he was receiving emails from across the country asking whether or not they were going to implement a whitewater park.
Siegel predicted what they were planning would fall in the range of $1 million to $1.5 million. The city would look to mitigate the cost with federal grants, said the mayor.
According to Siegel, the length of the process is tantamount to how long it takes for funding and permitting to clear, as construction can take as little as two months. He said other projects in New York have taken about a year.
With Recreation's next report coming sometime in February, they will be compiling topographical data, artistic renderings and collaborating with the city before the next public hearing.
The idea was pursued by city officials at the behest of local kayaker Adam Hubbard, who had been fighting for a couple years for them to look into the project, potentially a multimillion dollar tourist attraction.
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