Monday, January 30, 2012

Dolly Parton Set to Open New Water-Snow Park in Nashville

DollywoodThe Queen of Country herself, Dolly Parton, is set to open up yet another attraction in Tennessee, though this time the park will be a little different. The new park is something called a water-snow park and is being described as the first of its kind in the country. The park is set to open in Nashville and will join Parton's many other Tennessee attractions.

Announced on Thursday, the same day as the singer's 66th birthday, the new $50 million park is 114 acres and is believed to be opening in the summer of 2014. According to a statement from Parton, "I'm not a bit afraid of competing with myself. They are far enough apart. I live in Nashville, so it's natural for me to have two working places."

The new water-snow park will be a partnership with Gaylord Entertainment, the same company that owns the vast Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center as well as the Grand Ole Opry county music show also located in Nashville. During the first full season of the park, 500,000 visitors are expected and the park will use 450 full and part-time employees.

As far as details go, there aren't many. Chairman and CEO of Gaylord Entertainment stated that there will be special winter festivities as well as "lots of music" and that an additional 35 acres have already been purchased in the event of expansion. Dollywood and Splash Country bring in around 4 million visitors each year. The park opened back in 1986 with the water park opening in 2001. In addition to those parks, Parton owns the Dixie Stampede dinner theater located in Pigeon Forge.

Being a winter park as well as a summer, there are concerns that the cold winter weather may hinder attendance. However, as far as Parton is concerned, "Unless there's a blizzard, we'll be ready for 'em." Reed also added that he believes the new park will help increase attendance at Parton's other attractions as well.

Overall, thoughts on the project are positive with Reed and Parton describing their partnership as a 50-50 with no worries about financing. "We have a strong balance sheet and an icon like Dolly with us," Reed said and Tennessee Governor Bill Hastlam added, "The idea is a big one. If you think about it, the state lives off sales tax. And this will be something that will mean new dollars for Tennessee."

Source: Detroit Free Press - Dolly Parton plans water, snow park
CBS News - Dolly Parton plans Nashville water/snow park is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

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