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Jefferson County Commissioners move hotel and water park project forward
JEFFERSON COUNTY-By Jennifer Gordy
The convention center hotel and water park project at Ford Park is one step closer to reality. A move by Jefferson County Commissioners today allows the county judge to finalize an agreement with developers.
Jefferson County Commissioner Michael Sinegal says, "I will not support a hotel without a water park. I'm still wavering on the hotel, but I think I'm going to agree with it, but without the water park I will not support a hotel."
Strong words from Sinegal as he says, "My concern is every time we have had conversations it's been with one in conjunction with the other."
Monday's Commissioners Court agenda mentioned only a hotel and convention center. That led to confusion when the county judge asked commissioners to allow him to finalize an economic development incentive agreement with the developers.
Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick says, "There's a little delay with the water park company getting it's corporate name, so we can actually put it in the agreement." Branick confirmed for commissioners that the hotel and water park go hand in hand.
He expects commissioners to vote on the project in the next couple of weeks. . Branick says, "There have been some concerns leveled about the project particularly by competing hotels."
Some of the hotels believe a deal wouldn't be fair because the developer would get a tax incentive no one else is receiving. Branick says, "The case studies have been done in similar counties that show the occupancy rates actually increase as opposed to going down with the introduction of a new hotel."
And the public's response. Branick says, "A lot of people are interested in having that activity locally that way they don't have to travel to Galveston or Houston."
But only after critical review. Sinegal says, "I'm a proponent of the water park 100 percent. I've received pros and cons as far as the hotel. The decision is still out, but I'm going to do my best to protect the taxpayers."
And Branick feels the venue will help reduce the taxpayer subsidy of Ford Park