Dolly Parton and Gaylord Entertainment officially announced Thursday on Dolly’s 38th birthday (she laughingly claimed), during a press conference at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House, the upcoming opening of a water/snow park in Nashville; the first of its kind to open in the United States.
Dolly, thrilled to be joining her theme and water park, Dollywood, located in Pigeon Forge, to the Nashville park said,
“It’s time to bring family entertainment back to Nashville.”
Mayor Carl Dean, also present at the press conference, stated that they will be using one half of the old Opryland’s 114 acres to build the water and snow park, slated to be open in Spring/Summer 2014, with another 10 acres bought so that there will be no disruption to the current flow of traffic. $50 million is allotted to Phase one of the park, which is promising 450 new full and part-time jobs to the Nashville residents. The park is projected to receive 500,000 guests in its first season, definitely giving a boost to the state’s second largest industry, tourism.
When asked how Dolly thought the opening of a theme park here in Nashville would affect Dollywood’s business, she answered,
“We feel like we will be beneficial to each other.” And went on to state that with the parks distanced almost 200 miles from one another, there won’t be any conflict of interests, and will, in fact help one another. Dolly said while she visits Dollywood and Pigeon Forge as often as possible, pertaining to visiting the coming-soon water and snow park, she quipped, “I live here, so you’re liable to see me anytime.”
When asked about the naming of the as-of-yet-unnamed Nashville water and snow park, Dolly said “We’re working on that… but we’re not ready to make even a joke about it yet.
Governor Bill Haslam, who received a standing ovation at the conference said concerning tourists in Nashville, “We want to extend their length of stay.”
Chairman and CEO of Gaylord entertainment, Colin V. Reed, said there will be activities for the winter and plenty of music, giving more opportunities for artists to find work in the Nashville area.
“We have a strong balance sheet and an icon like Dolly with us,” Reed said. “Groundbreaking is projected for late this year or early 2013.” Haslam said the partnership is 50-50 between Dollywood and Gaylord, making finance something they are not worried about.