National News

Visiting the taxpayer-funded water park at Opryland won't come cheap

Posted May 20, 2018 10:55 a.m. EDT

— In the middle of Metro dealing with a $17-million dollar budget shortfall, millions of taxpayer dollars are going to a hotel water park...and you're not invited unless you cough up big bucks.

Construction is moving right along at SoundWaves, a giant water park slated for the world-renowned Opryland Hotel.

The indoor water park will include multiple slides, a lazy river and a wave pool. There will be an adults-only bar area as well as family areas for all guests.

Last year, Metro Council approved $14 million in taxpayer money to fund the project.

"That is taking money that could be used to build roads, that could be helpings schools, helping the police force,' said The Beacon Center's Mark Cunningham.

While anyone can technically visit the new water park, you have to book a room at the Opryland Hotel first.

A one-night stay there can run anywhere between $150 and $300 a night.

At the time of the vote, Councilman Freddie O'Connell said he was on-board because he thought it would pay off in the long run.

"This is not a scenario where the city is cutting a big check for a private, inside-the-hotel amenity," O'Connell told News4 in Feb. 2017.

As part of the deal, Ryman Hospitality donated two land parcels to create more public boat access to the Cumberland River.

SoundWaves is expected to open later this year.