Rocky Point Amusement Park is gone, but the man who managed many park operations for 20 years aims to create a park where families will have fun and make memories for future generations to come.
David Cascioli, who now lives in Tampa, Fla., managed the Midway and Rocky Point rides during the summer and directed the maintenance crew in the offseason. Cascioli is listed as the manager of Cascade Water Park LLC, which was incorporated on April 24, 2014, as a Rhode Island company. A Facebook page, Rhode Island Water Park, was launched July 31. It had nearly 4,000 friends as of this week.
“I think Rhode Island needs something,” Cascioli said. “You can’t bring Rocky Point back.”
Rather than “looking out the rear window,” he said, Rhode Island should be looking ahead and to an alternative to Rocky Point.
Cascioli not only has plans for a water park, but also a location just off Route 295 in Johnston and, should everything come together, a scheduled opening in 2016. As agreements have not been finalized, Cascioli did not name the location other than to identify it as “raw land” and indicate that the proposed water park would be 14 acres, of which six acres would be the park footprint with the balance of the land used for parking.
Cascioli is no stranger to water parks. He has helped design, build and manage water parks in India, Jamaica and Michigan.
He said he would start with a medium-sized water park comprised of a variety of rides. The centerpiece to the park would be 65-foot- and 75-foot-towers with slides. In all, there would be 12 slides. In addition, he has planned a 20,000-square-foot wave pool capable of producing six different wave patterns. Cascioli said straight-on surf waves are most popular, but there won’t be any surfboarding.
“That’s too dangerous,” he said.
He said there would be tubes and mats for surfing.
“People love the surf,” he said. “It would be absent jellyfish, red tide and sharks”
In addition, the park would have a “lazy river,” a 14- to 16-foot-wide river with a flow of three miles an hour.
“People like to just relax in a tube,” he said.
Along the 1,000-foot-long river there would be spray fountains blowing over it.
The park would also include special areas for children and even toddlers.
Cascioli described an “interactive zone” for children ages 8 to 14 where they could open valves to shoot water and trigger buckets that dump water. The tots’ zone would provide wet surfaces but be designed to prevent the accumulation of any water. There would be sprays and geysers “would pop up from the ground.”
But while the website, www.rhodeislandwaterpark.com, shows plans and pictures of the proposed park, Cascioli is first to admit it’s a long way from reality. He said location and money are two critical components.
Although he has a lead on the location, he said that hasn’t been finalized.
In fact, his plan was news to Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena.
“As long as it would be paying taxes, it would be a great concept,” he said Tuesday.
Polisena believes the site to be a part of a 110-acre parcel off 295 that has been the suggested site of several different developments. The mayor said he has talked with a “potential developer” of the property and that his preference would be for businesses that operate 12 months out of the year, as that would mean long-term jobs. But he’s not adverse to a water park since that would bring people into the area, which would be a benefit to existing businesses. He said the use would require the proper zoning, and he made it clear a water park would not be eligible for a tax break.
“If you ask me, I think it’s pie in the sky at this point,” Polisena said.
Cascioli agrees it’s a dream for the moment. He said he has talked with the manufacturers of water park equipment and has listed what he would need down to the chairs and the parasols.
And what he would need to make it all happen, in addition to a location, is $12 million. Assuming those two elements come together, Cascioli said construction would take place next year, with the park opening in 2016.
Cascioli said the ticket cost at the park would be less than $35, which is less than what similar parks charge. There would be a reduced charge for children.
Cascioli said the park would operate 100 days of the year. According to the website, the park is projected to attract 100,000 visitors from Massachusetts who would help stimulate the state’s economy.