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Clear sailing at first hearing for water park project NID

By Len Righi, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: May 15 2013 10:32:27 PM CDT
Updated On: May 16 2013 06:27:05 AM CDT
TOBYHANNA TWP., Pa. -

A plan to create a special district to help a proposed multi-million dollar water park project in a Monroe County had clear sailing Wednesday night.

Only one person, Eugene Samolewicz of Pocono Pines, asked a question at the first of two public hearings on Tobyhanna Township's Neighborhood Improvement District (NID) for the $350 million Kalahari Resorts project at Pocono Manor.

Township solicitor Patrick Armstrong explained that the NID would cover a 154-acre parcel near Routes 380 and 940, and make it eligible for revenues from a bond issue that would help pay for roadways, water and sewer lines, and "other improvements" to the first of three phases of the project.

Samolewicz then asked Armstrong if he could be more specific. Armstrong said that a new road, which will likely be called Kalahari Boulevard, and sidewalks will also be part of the improvements.

A second and final hearing on creating the NID will be held sometime next month, the supervisors decided.

On June 3, the supervisors will vote on creating a municipal authority that will administer the NID. That body will be called the Neighborhood Improvement District Municipal Association.

Also on June 3, the supervisors may vote on a Tax Increment Financing ordinance that would allow the Monroe County Industrial Development Authority to issue a 20-year, $26 million bond for off-site improvements for the Kalahari project. Property taxes generated by Phase 1 will be used to pay debt service on the bonds.

Armstrong said the TIF ordinance vote would happen if paperwork is finished by early next week. The Pocono Mountain School Board and the Monroe County commissioners have already signed off on the ordinance.

Developers have said Kalahari Resorts could open as early as 2015.

The first phase of the development would include a 450-room hotel, a 100,0000-square-foot indoor water park, a two-acre outdoor water park, a convention center, an indoor theme park/arcade and retail space with room for two restaurants.