An addition to The Bay Water Park could bring more patrons and commerce to the area in south Kansas City.
By opening day next season, the water park on Longview Road is expected to include a FlowRider wake-boarding and surfboarding simulator, said Kansas City Parks and Recreation director Mark McHenry. Its cost tops $1 million.
FlowRider, manufactured by California-based Wave Loch, blasts a thin sheet of water over a wave-shaped form that allows riders to surf or wakeboard as if they were riding a real wave. The attraction is meant to boost attendance among late teens and young adults.
“It’s pretty unique,” McHenry said. “There’s nothing like this on the Missouri side, and we think it’s better than the one on the Kansas side.”
Schlitterbahn in Kansas City, Kan., has a similar ride called the Boogie Bahn, but McHenry said including one at The Bay has been part of the master plan since the park opened in 2010.
The FlowRider package costs about $500,000 plus about $100,000 for the site design, McHenry said. A city ordinance, expected to be considered today by a council committee, covers more than $700,000 needed for construction. Those funds were generated through sales taxes and allocated to the 6th City Council District.
Lenexa-based Water’s Edge Aquatic Design, which did the planning, design and construction administration for The Bay originally, completed designs for the FlowRider’s space at the water park, McHenry said. The city will have to approve the ordinance for the additional funding before construction bids can be taken. McHenry expects to have bids completed by November with construction starting after first of the year.
The Bay is at 7101 Longview Road.
John Sharp, who introduced the funding ordinance with fellow 6th District councilman Scott Taylor, said making improvements to The Bay is vital to the neighborhood and has already benefited the community. In 2010, the first year it was open, the park saw 300,000 visitors — more than the city expected.
With increased attendance to the Bay because of the FlowRider, nearby businesses should see an increase in patronage. Sharp said the city’s interest in improving the park, and making repairs to Longview Road, helped convince the owner of the Save-A-Lot grocery store to stay in the nearby Longview Square shopping center. He expects this to be the beginning of more economic development in the area.
“The fact that we’re getting the grocery store to reopen will revitalize that shopping area,” he said. “We’re hoping people (visiting The Bay) will stop at a restaurant, buy some gas, or maybe buy some clothes.”
But The Bay isn't just good for the local economy, said Sharp. It also offers something the community was missing.
“The neighborhood is very excited about this,” he said. “Until The Bay opened, there were very few attractions in our community that could provide family fun.”