An upper midscale hotel may stop "leakage" to neighboring communities, but to really draw visitors to Delta, local resident Scott Schaible envisions an indoor/outdoor water park.
He shared his idea with the Delta Urban Renewal Authority earlier this month, as commissioners were discussing a memorandum of understanding with MARS Hospitality, the developer selected for the hotel project.
Schaible prefaced his comments by outlining his career with Marriott Hotels. An entrepreneur, he also holds a patent and secured venture capital for his own firm.
He said he came away from a city council work session with the realization that the city desperately needs to figure out how to increase revenue, to avoid being "upside down" in a few years. He believes a water park would generate property and sales tax revenue, and draw guests to the hotel.
A lively exchange followed, with comments growing more favorable as the discussion unfolded.
DURA commissioner Bill Crank said he's always viewed the hotel as the first step. "If things like Mr. Schaible's idea aren't brought in after this first step, then this first step is a failure," he said.
As the mother of two, DURA commissioner Jill Jurca said she thinks Schaible is on the right track. She believes a water park would bring people in and also give local kids something to do. The hotel and a water park could work flawlessly together, she said.
DURA commissioner Ron Austin said it's no secret he's been involved in Schaible's efforts. He went so far as to survey a small group of teens about their vision for Delta and a water park was of high interest.
"We need to open our minds. We need to be receptive that there are other things that can work," he said.
Schaible said he's not looking for a job or a hobby; he's simply looking at the big picture and trying to figure out how to get people to visit our community. He said he's done a lot of research and talked to a lot of people, and is willing to finance a feasibility study himself. Among the folks he's been talking to are representatives of a design firm with experience in water parks and aquatic centers.
Schaible said he's not looking to build a "monolith" in the middle of Delta, but to come up with a design that can grow.
Visitors who are drawn to Delta for the water park will be exposed to the many other activities available in the area, from wine tastings to canyon adventures.
Austin, who was elected mayor of Delta at the city council's April 17 meeting, commented at that meeting, "A project like this will not only provide much needed revenue through tourism, but fill a gap in the available wholesome family activities in Delta."
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Delta County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting to consider the board's response to the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the lease parcels proposed for the December BLM sale.
Several people from the North Fork were present to provide input.