Broward News

Rapids Water Park Operator Sues City to Stop Schlitterbahn

Back in July, it was announced that waterpark company Schlitterbahn had their sights set on putting the "biggest, baddest" water park ever in Fort Lauderdale. But now the people who operate Rapids Waterpark is suing the city to stop that from happening.  

In an 11-page complaint filed on Wednesday, Premier Parks LLC — who own and operate Rapids — say that Fort Lauderdale is violating a competitive bid process by giving Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts a long-term lease without allowing any other developers to bid and submit their own ideas for a water park. 

According to that lease, Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts has been given the rights to develop and operate a water park on approximately 64-acres of land close to the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

In July, Schlitterbahn owner Jeff Henry told New Times that his company had had their eye on the acre of land for almost two decades. All he needed was approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. Once it was established that the airport would not need the parcel of land for expansion, Schlitterbahn pounced and announced their intention of opening a park there sometime in 2018.

The next move was for the city to purchase the land and then lease it to Schlitterbahn. Commissioners approved the idea earlier this month, and the ball began to roll. But Premier Parks immediately made their concerns known, and threatened to take legal action after the initial vote to approve the lease to Schlitterbahn went through. 

According to the complaint, Premier says that Rapids would suffer "substantial damages" and argues that Fort Lauderdale is not allowing other bids for the lease. 

Schlitterbahn is known for its extravagant and huge water parks, with locations in Texas and Kansas City. The park features giant water slides, rides and pools. And it's the company's plan to make their Fort Lauderdale park the largest in the world.

"It's going to be the biggest, baddest water park ever built on the face of this Earth," Henry said in July. "People will have never seen anything like it."

Henry has said that beyond payments for the parcel of land, taxpayers won't be paying for the park.

A spokesperson for Schlitterbahn tells New Times that the company has no comment at this time, regarding the Premier Parks lawsuit.  
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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph