EPCAL project would pull water skiers with cables, not boats

TIM GANNON FILED PHOTO | The Island Water Park property in Calverton

Island Water Park has filed an application with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to build a water skiing and wake boarding operation in Calverton that uses electric-powered cables, instead of boats, to pull skiers.

The project also proposes to construct offices, a restaurant, fitness center, warehouse, parking area and maintenance facility.

There will just be one building constructed, according to Island Water Park owner Eric Scott. The plans also call for a picnic area and beach volleyball courts, and eliminate the motorcross racing facility Mr. Scott had previously proposed.

The skiers would be moving about 15 miles per hour, Mr. Scott said, adding that over the years he’s spent more than $4 million on the project beyond the land acquisition costs.

“This will be one of the nicest places in the Northeast to go to, I’m not kidding you,” Mr. Scott said in an interview Friday. “They just opened one of these in Ohio and it’s doing unbelievably. On Long Island, what we have for our kids to do? They have to leave Long Island to have any fun.”

The complex will have an on-site sanitary system, and portions of the site will be re-vegetated, the plans say.

Island Water Park’s 42-acre property was the first Riverhead Town sold at the former naval weapons plant now called the Enterprise Park at Calverton, or EPCAL, and it went for  $714,000 in 2003. The company is technically applying for a renewed DEC reclamation, or mining, permit to continue to work on the land, which had been previously mined for sand. The application, filed this month, proposes “to reclaim a site that was previously mined by creating a groundwater fed recreational pond with an electric cable tow system for water skiing and wake boarding.”

The revised project still doesn’t sit well with environmental activist Richard Amper, who has opposed prior versions of Island Water Park’s plan.

“I don’t think water sports in the Pine Barrens over the aquifer was a very good idea from the get-go,” he said, adding that he fully expected the application to be OK’d.

The DEC currently has a written comment period on the plan which ends on Feb. 18. The comments can be sent to Mark Carrara, NYSDEC Region 1 Headquarters SUNY/Stony Brook, 50 Circle Rd, Stony Brook, NY 11790. The phone number is (631)444-0365 and the email is: [email protected].

Read more in Thursday’s Riverhead News-Review.

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