Generations of swimmers who spent summers at Sun Valley Beach and mourned its closing can take heart: A newly formed investment and management group plans to restore the Powder Springs water park, which shut down in 2011.
Before work can begin, however, Noumena Inc. will have to secure financing to purchase the property. To raise crucial funds, the group is planning a two-day festival Sept. 14-15 at Clinton Nature Preserve in Villa Rica. The event kicks off Saturday at 8:30 a.m. with a 5K race and will include scar show, craft vendors, a movie under the stars and local music before wrapping up Sunday evening.
While an online Indiegogo fundraising campaign netted only a few hundred dollars of its $150,000 goal, supporters hope their burgeoning Facebook site indicates enough of an increased interest in restoring Sun Valley Beach – which originally opened in 1964 – that festival-goers will arrive in droves to help contribute to the restoration project.
“We started this whole thing 40-something days ago, and in that time, our Facebook page grew from 15 people to 3600 people,” said Joey McCullough, who along with Norman Agan form the more public portion of the investment group. Both have experience working in public entertainment parks, McCullough with Disney and Six Flags.
Despite his natural tendency to shy away from the spotlight, McCullough said he believes in the project enough to respond personally to those interested in the restoration of Sun Valley Beach, even meeting with some of the Facebook group in person.
“Some of them went to Sun Valley Beach up to the point it closed and want to see it reopened, some were supporters of what we were trying to do and became supporters of us,” he said of the Facebook group. “It’s a mixture of many different kinds of people.”
Some 5,000 people are expected to attend the festival, the earnings from which will allow investors to purchase the land and begin implementing a three- to five-year renovation plan. Existing buildings are in good shape, McCullough said, and despite the extensive remediation necessary to reopen the 1.5-acre pool and convert it from chlorine to salt water, visitors could be swimming again by next summer. Meanwhile, drive-in movies could be offered as an on-site revenue generator while the public keeps an eye on the pool’s progress.
The Clinton Nature Preserve festival is a perfect opportunity to build faith with potential patrons, McCullough said.
“We’re trying to give them the best event we can, and that will be a credit to our ability to entertain people when we get the water park up and running,” he said.
General admission will be $15 for adults and $10 for children, which will include five “Beach Bucks” worth one dollar each and redeemable at any festival vendor. Car show registration fee is $25 and includes admission for the driver. Runners can enter the 5K for $40 – $35 if they register in teams of five or more – and in addition to qualifying for timed finishes and medals will receive a one-of-a-kind souvenir tee shirt, courtesy of spectators.
“We are looking for as many spectators as possible,” McCullough said. “We are going to give them buckets of tinted water and water guns to use on the runners, so that every runner will have a tie-dyed tee shirt by the end of the race.”
And because people want something for their money, McCullough said, those involved in the project want the public to know they’re not in for yet another cookie cutter, overpriced amusement park when Sun Valley Beach reopens to the public.
“The sky’s the limit on what we can do as soon as we secure funding because we are a large group of people with the ability to think outside the box,” he said. “But in all of that, we want to make sure what we don’t do is lose the hidden gem aspect of Sun Valley Beach. Don’t get me wrong – we are are a for-profit business, but we are doing this for the community. We’re not looking to get rich. We want to offer the community a nice, clean, safe, family-friendly place to go at an affordable rate.”