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Friday, May 6, 2016

Indoor water park planning begins for Okoboji

Monday, January 31, 2005

The Iowa Great Lakes may add an indoor water park to its list of tourist attractions if 70 acres of land on the southeast side of East Lake Okoboji is approved for rezoning.

The land is now zoned R4 - Lakeshore Residential and A1- Agriculture. Currently there is a wooded area along the shoreline, and a farm house sits on the property. The majority of the land is farmed.

Developers Broek and Ronsiek, will purchase the land from Thomas Nielsen if the rezoning is approved.

The developers and owner are pursuing Resort Enterprise zoning because the building would sit 60 feet back from the shoreline, giving an optimal view of the lake.

Tuesday, Jan. 18 the Planning and Zoning Commission met on the issue and moved to recommend the zoning change to the Board of Supervisors.

"The Board of Supervisors is the authority of approval or not," said David Kohlhaase, Planning and Zoning Commission administrator. "They are the one that makes the final decision."

Plans for the land have not been finalized, but tentatively include an indoor water park and condominiums.

"We're trying to do a low-impact, environmentally friendly, year-round residential and recreational devel-opment," said Jon Broek, developer from BBR, LLC in Sioux Falls.

A feasibility study is being done to determine the size of the water park.

"We want to do it right, so we're taking the time and spending the money to make sure the concept is going to work," said Broek.

"From all indicators, it has a very high likelihood of success."

The project has been named Bridges Bay because of the bridge over East Okoboji and Upper Gar as well as the bridge at Smith's Bay, which can be seen from the property.

"We met with our realtors and marketers to come up with a nostalgic name," said Broek. "We're going to try to use that theme throughout by putting bridges in public walk ways and in the water park itself."

The development will be similar to surrounding establishments, including a condominium complex on one side and a family resort on the other. The significant difference is the indoor water park.

The developers hope the project will take some pressure off the lakes.

"We feel the owners of the housing units attached to the water park are far less likely to require a boat slip because they have access to the park," said Broek. "Whether they own or rent, everyone wants a boat or two. We think this concept is going to deintensify that use. We're trying to have lake front condos, but decrease the numbers on the lake."

Broek and his partner, Randy Ronsiek have been coming to the lakes area since they were kids.

"We realize as developers the last thing we need here is more people," said Broek. "What the area needs is something that draws people to the area in the winter."

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