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Waterloo council grants rezoning request on theme park plans

August 6, 2019

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — The Waterloo City Council has taken a step toward development of a $100 million theme park on the south side of the city.

The council granted a rezoning request Monday for what will become Lost Island Theme Park on nearly 160 acres (64.8 hectares) adjacent to Lost Island Water Park.

The project will include a variety of rides and attractions “designed to immerse guests in the stories of magical lands that can only be found at the Lost Island Theme Park,” Gary Bertch said last month when he announced the plans. “This attraction is expected to enhance the Cedar Valley as a great place for family entertainment.” Bertch’s family opened the water park in 2001.

He hopes to begin grading this fall and open the theme park in summer 2022. The project is still pending approval of a development agreement with the city, Bertch said Monday.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported that the city is seeking a state grant for park access road improvements. City officials also expect to sell an estimated $14 million in bonds to assist in the park development. They expect to recoup the investment through park property taxes and hotel-motel tax revenue.

Several homeowners in nearby neighborhoods wrote letters to the city asking for assurances that the city and developers would take steps to limit noise, light pollution and other potential impacts.

Waterloo community planning and development director Noel Anderson said his staffers haven’t found any harm to residential development and property values near other amusement parks they studied, including Adventureland in Altoona.

Also, Anderson told the council, the new theme park is expected to be well within noise ordinance limits.

“It’s not that they’re not going to hear that there’s a theme park there,” he said of nearby residents. “But it should be more like a background noise that you would hear.”

Neighbors may be able to see the taller rides, but the park lighting is not designed to shine off the property, said project engineer Bill Claassen.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com

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