Huge tubes are being assembled for creation of the new water park behind the Holiday Inn Harbourside in Indian Rocks Beach.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – It might take some weeks yet but soon there will be a lazy river flowing through part of Indian Rocks Beach. That is what all the construction is about on the Holiday Inn Harbourside property.
The lazy river will be part of a new water park being built on the land. There is plenty of work that will be done according to Joe Lawlor, the hotel’s general manager.
“We’re laying the foundation right now,” he said. “Soon you will see them assembling the large water slide and then the lazy river will run through the area. It will probably take a few more weeks.”
Lawlor said the hotel brass has been considering adding the water park for some time.
“It just seemed like the right time to do it,” he said. “We think there will be a demand for it. Several hotels in Florida have built water parks and we have clients now that are pretty excited about it.”
Lawlor, who has been the general manager of the hotel for the past 20 years, said the total cost of the project hasn’t been determined yet.
“The final aspects of the job are still being finalized,” he said.
The addition of the water park is welcome news to IRB officials. City Manager Gregg Mims said it will help both the city, in terms of taxes, and the local businesses.
“It is all good for the restaurants and gift shops,” he said. “It will help businesses throughout the entire city and especially those in the Narrows Business District. There are multiple businesses that will benefit.”
The news doesn’t stop there however.
The owner of the Holiday Inn, Jeff Keierleber, who is based out of Wisconsin and has a home on Clearwater Beach, seems ready to move forward with the long-awaited expansion of the hotel itself. For some time plans have called for the addition of 100 new rooms to be built alongside the new water park in a building separate from the main structure. Lawlor said the prep work is nearly finished.
“The last of the pilings for the new structure are nearly all in,” he said. “We wanted to get the pilings done because of the building of the water park it seemed like the smart thing to do. The building is in the planning stages but no date has been set to break ground.”
The new rooms could be configured as separate rooms or suites.
Lawlor said once the expansion is finished there will be new jobs created at the hotel, although he didn’t know how many.
Mims said the final permits for the expansion should be issued shortly. In the meantime he said the expansion will greatly benefit the city.
“There will be more lodging taxes and an increase in the ad valorem taxes,” he said. “The plan for the expansion was approved many, many years ago but sat idle because of the economy. All the plans have been approved and the hotel structure will be permitted any day now.”
While Lawlor couldn’t say when the groundbreaking will take place for the hotel expansion, he was able to pinpoint the completion date of the new water park.
“I would say some time in July based on the current schedule that is in place,” he said.