Blue Mountain Resort's bid to become a year-round entertainment complex has hit the ground running.
Officials gathered Thursday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the new road to usher in the beginning of Blue Mountain's largest construction project, Summit Splash Water Park.
Scheduled to open in the spring of 2015, the park is expected to create omore than 200 full-time jobs. Once completed, Summit Splash will include a giant wave pool, a lazy river, and tubing slides all in a beautiful mountain setting.
The overall theme of the park will be "playful fun in a beautiful mountain setting," according to the owners Barbara Green and Bruce Ebert. They said Blue Mountain Resort offers recreation options, while preserving the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Jack Sturm, director of business development, said the occasion marked a special day for Blue Mountain Resort.
Owner Barbara Green said that Blue Mountain Resort is in the first phase of the construction of Summit Splash Water Park. She said the plan is to start on the inside of the park by April.
Green said the idea for the $20 million water park began several years ago, when she envisioned expanding the resort to a year-round facility.
Summit Splash will be located in a Resort and Recreation Zoning District, adjacent to the ski area on about 20 acres of the 58-acre parcel at 1660 Blue Mountain Drive.
It will be built in phases, Green said, adding that the first phase will be the water park, and the second phase will include hotels/time-share, and more rides, if the water park proves successful.
Summit Splash will be an outdoor water splash park that will include rides themed after historic areas of the county, such as the Lehigh River, mining, railroads and the rich canal history, Green said.
Various organizations were then lauded by Green for their contributions, along with Blue Mountain employees and the management team.
Ebert said, "I'm glad we're at this point, and thank everybody for coming."
State Rep. Doyle Heffley congratulated the team at Blue Mountain Resort.
Heffley said the organization is proof that there are valued jobs in the area, and said the project means a lot to Lower Towamensing Township, Palmerton, and Carbon County.
"You bring visitors to Carbon County," Heffley said. "Thank you for what you do for the community and the wonderful job you do."
State Sen. David Argall said, "The number of jobs we're talking about is extraordinary."
"It's a happy day, a wonderful occasion for this whole region," Argall said. "It's going to mean a lot to the continued revitalization of the area."
State Sen. John Yudichak said "This rebranding will be a tremendous asset to northeastern Pa."
Yudichak then turned to Green and said "Your late father, Ray (Tuthill) dreamed of a four-season resort. You've exceeded his expectation, and ours."
Sturm mentioned a whole list of events that Blue Mountain Resort hosts throughout the year.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was followed by a luncheon at the Summit Lodge.