March 9, 2015
North Augusta will be home to an aquatic recreation destination on Memorial Day 2016.
The $21.5 million Scuttle’s Island Water Park, to open off I-20 Exit 5 in North Augusta, will create 93 seasonal and 12 full-time jobs.
“Scuttle’s Island is not just another water park; I can’t emphasize enough,” said Andrew Thompson, partner of Scuttle’s Island Water Park. “Months and years of planning have gone into every detail of this park, which culminated in a project that’s costing us nearly $25 million. We realized really quickly that second-rate just wouldn’t be sufficient and that if we couldn’t do the best we possibly could, we wouldn’t do the job.”
Formerly known by the code name Project Locker, the pirate-themed park will span approximately 40 acres, with 24 attractions, including a number of slides, a wave pool, a lazy river and a kid’s interactive area. It will be open from Memorial Day through Labor Day each year, with hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
Scuttle’s Island representatives were looking for a location in the area, requiring easy access off Interstate 20 and land that could host such a vast water park with room for expansion.
Originally, the park was to be located in Columbia County, Georgia; but county officials rejected a plan by park developer Benjamin Bell and persistent rezoning issues opened the door for Aiken County to land the park.
“We’ve been working on this for six or eight months, maybe a little longer than that,” said Ronnie Young, Aiken County Council chairman. “I first met with them after they were referred to me; I talked with them and liked what they had to offer. I came and talked to (North Augusta City Administrator) Todd (Glover) and asked if he was interested and turned it over to him.
“North Augusta made this happen by doing what they had to do. It’s a destination that will bring people here that would normally not come here. They’ll get that extra revenue from tourism. It’s a team effort; nothing happens without working together.”
North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover is particularly excited about what the park can do for tourism in Aiken County.
“When we saw the plan and the team that they assembled – this is truly a world-class water park,” he said. “From the facilities that they will have, the projections on attendance – just to give you some idea, if 10 percent of the people who attend this park decided to stay an extra day in North Augusta, that 10 percent would represent more than our current city population. This is a huge impact on our city. We appreciate them working with us and selecting North Augusta and Aiken County.”
North Augusta Mayor Lark Jones sees the development at Exit 5 as another asset the city has to offer.
“We’ve had a significant amount of development in that area in the last year to two years,” he said. “I think something of this magnitude shows that North Augusta can compete and we have a wonderful, attractive location for the entire CSRA. We’re situated perfectly for these type of things. It fits well in North Augusta, and it fits well in this entire area.”
Along with the slides, Scuttle’s Island will have two restaurants, an ice-cream parlor and a number of “grab and go” food kiosks in the park.
It also will boast a 34,000-square-foot pool, a 90-foot slide, a 70-foot slide and a 54-foot slide complex to go along with a 2,000-foot-long lazy river with rapids and a waterfall.
According to Thompson and equipment manufacturer Alex Gryzinski, the park will open with one of the tallest water slides in the world and one of the largest wave pools in the Southeast.
Scuttle’s Island is scheduled to have its grand opening on Monday, May 30, 2016.