Not one to be left out of the Central Texas convention game, the city of Round Rock plans to welcome a Kalahari water park, convention center, and hotel in the next few years, reported Community Impact newspaper Wednesday.
According to the city’s website, the Round Rock City Council is expected to vote on a memorandum of understanding at its June 23 regular meeting. The site added that working out a development agreement and zoning changes could take three to nine months and that Kalahari’s goal is to open the park in 2020.
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions are "African-themed" parks, according to the company's website. Connecting its name to the the Kalahari Desert, home to "thousands of plants and trees thriving" in harsh conditions and the largest elephant population in Botswana, the resorts reference the theme in artwork, music, coffee, and souvenirs.
Kalahari’s website lists three resorts—in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; Sandusky, Ohio; and one planned for the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania. The Round Rock location would be its fourth.
According to Community Impact, the family-run company will build as many as 1,000 guest rooms, indoor and outdoor water parks, and a convention center, as well as restaurants, cocktail lounges, spas, and family attractions such as games and go-karts. Plans are for the park to be built on on Highway 79 across from the Dell Diamond and Old Settlers Park, reported the paper, and the $250 million project is expected to create approximately 700 full-time and part-time jobs.
Community Impact also reported that Round Rock City Manager Laurie Hadley stated that this kind of tourist-centered growth—wherein people come in, spend money, and leave—has a lower impact on the city than would something like a housing or shopping development. She told the paper that a park would draw traffic at off-peak times and use less water than a similarly sized housing development.
• Water park, hotel and conference center slated for Round Rock [Community Impact]
• Kalahari Resorts and Conventions announces intention to locate in Round Rock [City of Round Rock website]