Storm Lake is a modest lakeshore community with a population of 10,076 people located in northern Iowa. The dream for a new community pool began with a study of the existing facility, which was a 1968 Chester aluminum pool. The study sparked the development of a concept plan and a big dream.
Now, most big dreams are too big to come true. And once details of construction costs were developed for Storm Lake, its dream seemed out of reach as well. But then there was the lake.
Storm Lake, the city’s namesake, was experiencing an erosion problem causing shallow-water areas from silt buildup on the lake bottom. A representative of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources visited Storm Lake and toured the water by boat to observe the erosion problem. Discussions about funding and methods of resolving the problem resulted in an even bigger dream for Storm Lake. Why not create a destination location and put Storm Lake on the map?
And so Project AWAYSIS was born.
A partnership between the city and the Iowa Department of Economic Development applied for a grant to fund the creation of a plan. After several years of planning by state and city officials from all arenas, community efforts from citizens throughout the town, funding and development efforts from private sector and public officials, the dream became a reality. A plan illustrating their dream featured a 100-room lodge resort with an open beachfront, golf course, playground, picnic facilities and two waterparks (outdoor and indoor).
City officials aspired to create a first-class waterpark facility that would have the look and feel of the most popular waterparks around the United States, and reward the community with its own aquatics center. King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort is a far cry from a traditional municipal pool, The waterparks’ designs consist of three separate bodies of water and offer year-round water recreation for all age groups.
The outdoor waterpark is uniquely situated on the shore of Storm Lake with a front-row view of all the lake activity and the beautiful surrounding shoreline. The family-friendly pool has an uncommon theme with rockscape dividing shallow areas from the deep-water areas. The shallow areas feature interactive play features such as tumble buckets and the deck-mounted spray jets — a spraypark within the pool. That area is enhanced by a water-spray gun and a dump play feature, which looks like a basketball goal structure with an attached dumping bucket. Opponents square off to see who can fill each other’s bucket first — and the loser gets a quick shower.
The deeper-water areas include a six-lane, 25-yard competition swim area for hosting the Storm Lake White Caps swim meets and practices. It also is useful for programming needs such as Red Cross swim lessons, water aerobics and lifeguard training. Additional recreational features include a multicolored water walk and water basketball goal.
The mammoth water-slide complex boasts the longest enclosed raft water slide in the state of Iowa with a 420-foot descent. Not only is it the longest, but this slide is equipped with state-of-the-art technology that allows thrill seekers a choice of themes for their rides. The rider is greeted at the slide entry by a touch-screen panel of eight theme choices. Choose your theme, enter the ride and immediately you’ll experience flashing lights, loud sounds, water sprays and foggy paths, along with holograms of fearful or pleasant images as you race to the plunge pool. Choices of sharks, dinosaurs, clowns or butterflies are sure to keep riders returning for more.
The themes are easily managed through Web-based software that keeps track of which ones are most popular and how many riders the slide had for the day. The waterpark operator can change the water slide themes as easily as the click of a mouse and add themes for special occasions or holidays such as the 4th of July. The slide complex has a total of five large water slides. The lazy river completes the outdoor pool area as it winds around the base of the water-slide complex.
The indoor waterpark offers a trio of large water slides, the most popular being the enclosed raft slide that winds its way outside and back inside using the same theme-ride technology as the outdoor slide complex. The indoor facility features a rock-climbing wall, relaxation pool with spray jets, and water basketball along with its own lazy river.
Unique operating systems include an ultraviolet light disinfection system
for clean pool water and a heating/air conditioning system designed to
incorporate outside air at an even mixture with the inside air to eliminate poor air quality.
Aquatics facilities are a quality-of-life addition to any community, with possible economic benefits depending on their location. King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort serves as the community’s aquatics center, but it’s also changed the economic picture of the region. Between June 1, 2007, and Labor Day, the outdoor waterpark experienced 50,000+ visitors, more than
90 percent of whom are from out of town.
Besides being a tourist destination, the resort has brought much attention
to local development. “There has been so much commercial and residential
development interest that Storm Lake has not seen the economic slump and housing slowdown other communities have experienced,” says Justin Yarosevich, assistant city administrator of Storm Lake.
King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort took more than seven years to complete, and it’s proof that commitment and determination can make dreams come true.