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Island Water Park seeks seeks tax incentives from Riverhead IDA

Island Water Park is seeking a 20-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement, along with other tax incentives, on its proposed water park and recreational facility at the Enterprise Park at Calverton.

During a presentation Monday before the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency, Daniel Baker, an attorney for the applicant, said Island Water Park is seeking three incentives from the IDA.

These are an exemption from paying mortgage recording taxes, worth an estimated $75,000; an exemption from sales tax, estimated at about $1.3 million, and possibly higher; and the 20-year PILOT arrangement, the specifics of which are still being negotiated with the IDA.

Mr. Baker said they are requesting 20 years because of the project’s combined construction and operating costs of more than $15 million.

Island Water Park dates back 20 years at its current location. It includes a 20-acre man-made lake and a 75,000-square-foot indoor facility on 46 acres just south of the EPCAL ballfields.

Owner Eric Scott bought the property from Riverhead Town in 2003 for $714,000, but the project had been caught up in the review process for nearly two decades.

Among the attractions planned for the park are an indoor surf pool, indoor rock climbing, fitness centers, indoor and outdoor volleyball courts, obstacle courses, bumper boats and water slides, Mr. Baker said.

There will also be attractions like cornhole, axe throwing, golf simulators, race car simulators and many other activities, which will be modified seasonally, Mr. Baker said.

“This is been a vision of mine and my family for close to 30 years,” Mr. Scott said. “This is what we do. People that know me that know that I create fun for kids.”

Ken Myers, who will oversee food and beverage operations and special events, said the facility will have a 118-seat restaurant and a 3,000-square-foot event space. He said they will work with local hotels and with the Suffolk County Community College hospitality and culinary program to make internships available.

Mr. Scott said there will be discounts to the park for Riverhead residents.

He is planning for a September opening but said there is still a lot of work to be done.

The Riverhead Town Board has scheduled a virtual public hearing on Island Water Park for Wednesday, May 19, at 2 p.m.

Tracy Stark-James, executive director of the IDA, told Mr. Scott that additional information on the project budget will be needed. 

The IDA also must schedule and hold its own public hearing on the proposal.

Mr. Scott is involved in boating and activities like water skiing and wake boarding. He said he owns over 25 businesses in states like Florida, Texas and North Carolina and employs about 300 people. 

Island Water Park will require about 250 full-time employees, he said.