TYGART LAKE— An idea nearly four years in the making has finally come to fruition, despite being told it would never happen.
According to Taylor County Adventure Club Executive Director Bryan Smith, three and a half years ago he expressed to officials with Tygart Lake State Park a desire for a water adventure park, and was told no, it would never happen.
However, through perseverance and determination, Smith refused to take no for an answer and continued to dig into ways to make this idea of his a reality.
“I took the idea to our Delegate, Amy Summers, and she was immediately on board,” Smith revealed. “We held a meeting at the lake with representatives from Charleston and represented the idea.”
He added that at that meeting the individuals present were much more receptive, and several additional meetings regarding the proposal would follow.
In Spring 2020, Smith received the go-ahead to send out a request for proposal, and on Friday, July 17, he and Summers were notified that Tygart Lake State Park had indeed been approved for a water adventure park.
According to Smith, Ace Adventure, out of Oak Hill, WV, won the contract and will take care of all of the necessary funding, as well as the operation of the park, which will include floating inflatables.
While final plans have yet to be submitted, the proposal has the future location of the water park being close to the current Tygart Lake Swimming/Beach Area.
“I’ve not seen any final plans, but that was the discussed location; for it to be around the swimming area and back up in a nearby cove, to not disturb boating traffic from the marina,” Smith shared.
He also noted that things like access and parking still need to be sorted out.
“Right now, that space allots limited space for parking, so that will need addressed and a plan will have to be made,” Smith remarked.
There is also question when it comes to gaining access to that particular area, due to the amount of stairs to get to the proposed location.
“Access will absolutely need to be addressed. Right now, with the steps to get up and down the hill, it isn’t very handicap accessible. Running a golf cart to shuttle those who are unable to make the walk might be a possibility, but again, I have not seen Ace Adventure’s final plan for these things,” he stated.
Smith voiced his excitement for the project sharing that this is huge news for the community, and with the water park comes the potential for so much more.
“This is just a small piece of what we can do. The water park will potentially bring in more tourist, who will in turn boost lodging at the state park and also be shopping at our local businesses,” he expressed. “The possibilities are limitless if we only work together!”
Smith wasn’t the only one bursting with enthusiasm at the news. Summers immediately shared the information via social media, where it was shared more than 1,400 times.
“Thank you to Bryan Smith, Director Stephen McDaniel, Jim Browning and Emily Fleming for all of your assistance in helping us achieve our goal,” she expressed on the post.
Community members were also ecstatic to hear the good news and sent words of thanks and congratulations to Smith and all of those who worked to get the idea off the ground.
“This is great news, I remember a few years ago when Bryan Smith first brought this idea up and everyone said it wouldn’t happen here! Thank you Bryan Smith for planting the seed,” commented Sonya Lipscomb Miller.
Although Smith was the driving force behind the idea, he says that for him, it’s all about the community, and what he can do to improve the quality of life in Taylor County.
“This is all about building our community. We have such an amazing opportunity to bring even more ideas to our area,” he replied.
According to both Smith and Summers, Ace Adventure is projecting the water adventure park to be ready for summer 2021.
While you anxiously await the opening of the water park, don’t forget the Adventure Club is up and running for the season, with kayak and tube rentals available by appointment.
To schedule a float down the Tygart River with the club, call Smith today, at 304-709-0164.