At last week's meeting of the Carbon County Planning Commission, details were outlined for a themed water park at Blue Mountain Ski Area near Palmerton.

It's great news in today's universally dismal economic climate.

Such a project will create jobs, add tax revenue, and boost tourism. Some may argue that this is not the most environmentally-friendly use for the Blue Mountain but it's better than some alternatives.

Barbara Green, owner of Blue Mountain Ski Area and the proposed Summit Splash water park, said the facility will blend into the scenery.

The rides will be themed after historic areas of Carbon County such as the Lehigh River, mining, railroads, and the rich canal heritage.

The history of Blue Mountain Ski Area has been positive. It's a first-class ski resort that attracts patrons from many miles away.

This would be the second water park in the county. The current one, at Split Rock Resort and Convention Center, is an indoor facility.

The outdoor water splash park proposed in Palmerton would be open during the summer months when the ski resort isn't open.

It would mean that local residents wouldn't have to travel to the Lehigh Valley to enjoy a water park; that they would have a first-class facility within their midst.

Hopefully Green can appease state and local officials and get the approvals to move with the project ASAP.

Certainly a water park wouldn't fill the employment gap left by, say, the former New Jersey Zinc Company. It would, however, provide some local jobs.

The park would be constructed in phases with the first phase being the water park. A second phase would include hotels, times shares, and more rides.

We applaud Green's efforts to do something economically positive for the local area. If it all proves to be ecologically positive, it will especially be a good thing for the Palmerton area.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com