$650 Million Water Park and Resort Proposed in Massachusetts

The proposed facility off the Massachusetts Turnpike would feature two indoor water parks, a spa, and a hotel

A $650 million water park is being proposed off the Massachusetts Turnpike in Palmer.

"There's going to be a hotel and spa, there'll be two water parks," said development consultant Paul Robbins on Wednesday. "There'll be ice hockey, basketball courts, soccer fields, beach volleyball."

The proposed facility would be managed by Skanska USA, the company that built Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. It's being planned on 250 acres of land that was once considered for a Mohegan Sun casino.

When the western Massachusetts casino license was awarded to MGM Springfield, the property owner decided the water park development could complement the new casino.

"Sometimes we feel like western Mass. has tried to be so many different things when right under our noses, there's been this great, bucolic area, with a river and a valley and skiing, Basketball Hall of Fame, and now MGM Springfield, so it's just another layer," said Robbins.

Developers also hope to reach a wide audience with Interstates 91 and 84 nearby.

"Catchman area's probably 300 miles, there's 25 million people in that area," said Robbins.

So far, residents have been receptive to the project that's expected to employ roughly 2,000 people.

"Income, from taxes, putting more people to work, and that's badly needed," said Jean Scalise of Belchertown.

Small business owners in the area are also welcoming the economic impact the potential water park could have in their area.

"I think it'll be great for the town, it's going to create jobs, it's going to create traffic flow and I think it'll help the overall economy in town," said Yankee Flea Market owner Michael Walker.

The project still needs to go through a permitting process with the town, which could take several months. Developers hope to be able to open the water park in a couple of years.

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