Hampton city officials have approved the creation of an inflatable water park at Buckroe Beach, hoping to have the project launched by July 4.The attraction it will cost around $178,000 and will be acquired through a sole-source contract because only one company is authorized to sell the inflatables. When the inflatable water park is opened, city officials expect to charge visitors a fee of around $5 and raise $300,000 from those fees in four-to-eight years. With three lifeguards expected to be on duty at all times and other ancillary costs expected, the project itself will not be profitable. Officials aren't purely interested in direct revenue, however. They hope the inflatable water park will help to bring more seasonal visitors to Hampton and bolster the community's economy. The area hasn't had a water park since the Buckroe Amusement Park was torn down in 1980 and a new attraction could help Buckroe become a choice destination for people looking to visit Virginia's beaches.
The inflatable water park is expected to be 165 feet by 137 feet and include lifeguard towers, slides, a climbing wall, a ten foot tall bouncy dome, monkey bars, and other features. The park will be installed 115 yards to the north of the Buckroe fishing pier and sit in 8 feet of water during high tide. Occupancy is expected to be 120-140 visitors. The Buckroe project comes as the Downtown Hampton Development Project is planning its own "urban beach" to attract more visitors to Carousel Park. Planners are also looking at installing bocce ball courts, a dog park, and a multi-purpose space to revitalize the park area.