DADE CITY, Fla. — Snow in Florida? This may soon be a reality as the proposed plans for a new snow park have been officially approved.
After nearly a year's worth of talks, the framework for an outdoor snow park got the green-light for construction in a rural part of Dade City.
Pasco County commissioners discussed the proposed winter park and signed a resolution at a meeting Tuesday. The park is expected to be housed at the same location as the annual Scream-A-Geddon, which is located northwest from the current TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park.
According to the development plan, Point Summit's newest venture will be located near the intersections of Bellamy Brothers Boulevard, Bent Fork Road, and St. Joe Road.
The business management group currently operates several parks and adventure destinations, including White River Paintball, White River Zip Lines, TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park, Indy Scream Park, and the Scream-A-Geddon Horror Park.
The plan includes a "snow tubing hill, snow play area, and other related features or activities." The park has even applied for the sale and service of alcoholic beverages, which would include beer and wine, on its property.
County Commissioner Ronald E. Oakley tells 10News some of the related features or activities may include a building or "igloo" made out of ice, where children will be encouraged to build small igloos or maybe even have snowball fights inside.
The native Floridian, who says he was born and raised in Dade City, expressed his excitement for the park, adding "It's pretty unique for Pasco County."
While he doesn't think it will necessarily compete with other amusement parks like Busch Gardens, he says the family-oriented park will be an "attraction" to Pasco County.
"It'll draw people's attention to Pasco County - people who might not have come any other way," Oakley said. "It will certainly catch their eye, and it's something that'll help out Pasco County."
The commissioner confirmed the park will be able to operate 120 days of the year, but that it will be unlikely. This is due to the weather, which Oakley says will likely be the park's "biggest challenge."
"[The park] will not be able to operate when it reaches over 80 degrees, so I would guess it won't be open more than 45 days a year," he said.
Since the winter park will operate at the same location as the haunted house or fall festival of Scream-A-Geddon, the two parks would also not be able to open at the same time, he adds.
The permit's plan adds the park will likely operate between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Oakley said the park will likely operate in the cooler months after the haunted house and fall festival wrap up.
Several neighbors expressed concerns for the park due to the potential for traffic and the overdevelopment of rural land in the area. Oakley said due to the back-up traffic which already exists on Bellamy Brothers Boulevard, the board has decided to only allow an emergency exit on that road. The normal entrance and exit will be located on St. Joe Road.
"Pasco County is one of the fastest-growing counties in Florida - which means there is more and more traffic, new four-lane roads being built where two-lanes road where before," he said. "[The county] is hoping we can handle a lot of that traffic."
The commissioner board also confronted the winter park over concerns of preserving the current rural ordinance, which Oakley says is "good planning" going forward.
Oakley says Point Summit plans on planting trees to take away some of the visual of the park from the roadway. The park has also promised to keep the noise down for the neighbors, which is why the agreement for 10 p.m. during the week was decided.
While the commissioner says he's thankful for the amount of tourism he hopes the winter park brings in, he also says he wants to ensure Dade City remains a "great place to grow up and raise your children," with the city's "rolling hills, majestic oak trees, and cattle."
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