Possible Water Park Proposed For New Paltz

Photo by Zach McGrath.
Photo by Zach McGrath.
Photo by Zach McGrath.

The Turk Hospitality Group, owners of Rocking Horse Ranch Resort and Splash Down Beach Water Park, proposed a new 250 to 275-room family resort called the Wildberry Lodge to the Town of New Paltz Town Board.

Town Board officials voted to bring the proposal to the Town of New Paltz Planning Board for an informal review, according to Steve Turk, the owner of the Turk Hospitality Group.

Town Councilman Daniel Torres said Town Supervisor Susan Zimet was first approached with this project in January, and the first formal presentation was just over two weeks ago.

Torres said the town board will have to look at amending some of the town’s zoning laws, which have the motel standards set for motels that were made during the 1940s.  He said this project is more complicated, so it will require new zoning laws to be figured out. There is currently no timetable for when the amending of the zone laws will be completed.

Prior to planning the lodge, Torres said the Turk Hospitality Group talked to the town board privately about the basics of the project, so the board had a prior understanding of the plan before the presentation.

“I think they took a real community-focused approach in rolling out their project,” Torres said.

Turk said the lodge would be a 57-acre resort located at the intersection of Route 299 and South Ohioville Road.

Torres said the first year the Wildberry Lodge would pay $1 million in taxes. He said these tax dollars would give the town 26 percent of those profits and the rest will be split among the state, county and school district, which will pick up most of that portion.

The Turk Hospitality Group is seeking a Payment In Lieu of Tax, but will still be paying property taxes, Torres said.  He said it would provide 250 jobs during the winter months and 350 during the summer months.

“They’ll be paying $1 million in [taxes] their first year and have a minimum of 250 jobs, where in comparison the Wilmorite Park Point project wants to pay no taxes and create about eight low-paying jobs,” Torres said.

Turk said the outside of the resort would feature a four-station zip line, a ropes course, bouldering program, outdoor tennis and ice rink during the winter months. Inside will include a 10,000-square-foot conference center and ballroom, a 70,000-square-foot indoor water park, which connects to an outdoor water park during the summer, a five-story rock climbing facility and a 10-lane bowling alley.

The lodge would have two full-service restaurants, a café and two faster dining options, which serve pizza, fresh sandwiches and ice cream, Turk said.

Turk said the lodge’s concierge staff would help guests plan visits to nearby areas.  He also said there would be a shuttle service that goes to boutiques, galleries, restaurants and the Historic Huguenot district.

Turk said the lodge isn’t the only thing that will attract visitors.

“The greater Hudson Valley region is just as much part of the attraction as the amenities at Wildberry Lodge,” Turk said.

Overall, Torres said he’s glad this property could be put to good use after the “crossroads,” a potential Wal-Mart caused a few years ago, which the property is currently most famous for.

Susan Zimet could not be reached as of press time.