CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - Plans are in the works to bring a one-thousand acre adventure park to Charlotte County. The park, known as Florida Tracks and Trails will include everything from zip lines to a water park. It's located on Bermont Road in Punta Gorda, three miles west of State Road 31. The people behind it have their sights set on bringing tourists, jobs, and money to Southwest Florida.
"Twenty-six miles of ATV trails, an eight-acre water park, a skateboard park, two different zip line courses," Mike Greenwell said, going over the plans. "We have an 18,000-person amphitheater, 15,000 seats, the ability to have up to 18,000 people."
And, included in those plans is a huge tourism boost for the area. "We just feel like it's close enough to I-75, it's the theory, 'build it and they will come,'" Greenwell said. "Let's face it, when Walt Disney World went in, there was nothing there."
First, they had to get approval from Charlotte County, and differentiate their park from the Redneck Yacht Club, a few miles down the road. They were required to fulfill 24 conditions, 21 of which were already included in the plan.
"You can't bring a cooler of liquor in our place," Greenwell said. "It will be managed and run like an outdoor adventure park should be run."
There are also plans for extra turning lanes and a helipad in case of emergencies. "All the safety things that need to be in place will be in place at this park," Greenwell explained.
He sees these plans expanding year-by-year. In the meantime, he expects to create 100 jobs at the park, and several hundred more in the surrounding area as it grows. "We are expecting to bring up to a million people in this park within a few years," Greenwell said. "When we start having concerts every month, there's going to be hotels and stores and things that are going to want to come in that area, so it is definitely going to help that area."
As it expands, Greenwell says we could even see roller coasters added to the park. Construction is expected to start in early to mid-2013. They hope to have the park open by early 2014.