Deanna Dewberry

White Settlement to Reopen Water Park This Summer

The news that the Hawaiian Falls waterpark in White Settlement was closing came as a shock to the 150 employees who signed up to work there this summer, and to people who already bought a season pass.

But even though the park may end up opening this summer, it doesn't mean everything's fixed.

The city said it ended its operations agreement with Hawaiian Falls because the park was late with the rent.

City manager Jim Ryan told us, "They were supposed to pay us $600,000 last October and another $300,000 this April."

Hawaiian Falls has been operating the park since its opening in 2013. However, the park is built on city land.

Hawaiian Falls told us they planned to pay the rent that's owed, but the company wanted to defer payments.

The company had already hired 150 employees for this season. Workers like 16-year-old Hunter Breton, who wanted to be a lifeguard.

Breton said she paid $265 for training and a uniform.

"I am pretty disappointed and I was looking forward to it," said Breton. "That's a lot of money for my parents to spend."

Breton can apply for work at other Hawaiian Falls parks, but the closet one is about 40 miles away. If she doesn't, Hawaiian Falls says it will work to refund her money.

Season pass holders can't get a refund but they can use their passes at the other parks, the nearest ones being Roanoke or Mansfield.

The city of White Settlement says its water park won't stay closed forever. The city is working to reopen the park sometime this summer with the city now operating it.

"We will open. We have to open up legally and safely. We have to get all of these rides inspected," Ryan told us. "We will catch up but we have to have the backing of our citizens and understanding that we did this to preserve city funds city money taxpayer dollars."

We talked with Hawaiian falls which told us:

"Hawaiian falls is deeply disappointed that the city of White Settlement rejected our good faith proposal to operate the city's municipal water park system for the coming season.  We have been in discussions with the city of White Settlement regarding its lease and operating agreement since December."

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