HARRISBURG – The groundbreaking of a $350 million project that will bring a 100,000 square foot water park and convention center to the Poconos is great news for tourism and business in northeastern Pennsylvania, said state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon/Monroe).

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions plans to open the first phase of the Tobyhanna Township facility in 2015.

"While the new water park is exciting news for families, the construction of a state-of-the-art convention center here in the Poconos opens the door for incredible business opportunities in northeastern Pennsylvania," Yudichak said. "Our region continues to struggle with high unemployment, but with projects like this creating upwards of 1,500 jobs and generating much-needed economic activity we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel."

Kalahari's first phase will include 457 guest rooms and suites in addition to the indoor/outdoor water park and 65,000-square-foot convention center. The initial phase of the project will also include a 30,000-square-foot family entertainment center, 6,000 square feet of retail space and three full-service restaurants.