When the City of Williamsburg needed to renovate the city's public swimming pool, who knew what the city's Mayor Bill Nighbert and Tourism Director Alvin Sharpe had in mind? The city's public pool had been run down for some time, and repairs of $600,000 and $700,000 were needed.
The city fathers decided to add a few slides and a watering mushroom to make the pool more attractive and for the kids. Then, the idea of a waterpark came into play. A neighboring town had built one, and it was attracting 500 people a day. Why not, the city leaders thought? Williamsburg has a good location, easy access off of Interstate 75, and a great piece of land was available. So, the process began.
Acquiring a 55-acre farm, the city officials began the process of finding builders. After listening to many presentations, the city council chose three companies to build the features of the park. Aquatic Pools and Construction, Harris Miniature Golf and Sesseler Construction, Inc. won the bids. President Tom Makowski of Aquatic Pools was the overseer for the entire job.
Over the course of two years the City of Williamsburg built a $5 million Family Entertainment Center, which includes a waterpark, miniature golf course, go-kart track with kiddy track, and a five station-batting cage.
Boosting the local economy by attracting tourist to Williamsburg was another reason to build the facility. A Family Entertainment Center could also help the community by adding revenue to the city's budget for other projects.
The 6,000 people of Williamsburg were very excited about have their own Family Entertainment Center. This park is the largest Family Entertainment Center in the state of Kentucky and opened Memorial Day Weekend 2001.
Hal Rogers - namesake for the park - is the U.S. Representative for the 5 th Congressional District of Kentucky. The name was chosen as a thank-you for all of the federal money he has brought back to Whitley County, the City of Williamsburg, and the other 40 counties he represents. His work has given us more than $40 million to our area in the form of flood relief, trash gate, the Pride Program, and updated roads. No, we have no federal money in our park. It was simply named for him because of the great job he is doing for us in Washington.
- by Julie Hill
Parks & Recreation Director (2000-2003)
- Facility: Hal Rogers Family Entertainment Center / Kentucky Splash Waterpark
- Owner/Operator: City of Williamsburg, Kentucky
- Dates Open: Memorial Day Weekend thru Labor Day.
- Size/Acres: 25 acres (10 hectares)
- Number of Employees: Full-Time 3, Seasonal 140