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Corpus Christi Caller-Times


Jose Garcia spread a blue liquid with a scraping tool near the restaurant in Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi as the water park's general manager walked by.

Garcia was one of the many people working Wednesday to put the finishing touches on improvements made to Schlitterbahn in Corpus Christi, said Jim Kunau, general manager.

"Our goal is to have a five-star resort here," Kunau said. "Well over $1 million has been spent."

Workers have spent the past three weeks improving the park's landscaping, pools, and restaurants he said.

Kunau, the former general manager of Hurricane Alley Waterpark in Corpus Christi, has been with Schlitterbahn since November. In those short seven months, a lot has changed. The water park went from being at risk of foreclosure, to being up for auction to being bought by new owners.

IBC Bank purchased the water park on North Padre Island for $20 million May 1. Through all the changes, admission prices, season passes and special events are expected to stay the same.

"The new ownership has been fantastic. The last few weeks we've been getting ready," Kunau said about the water park's opening on May 26. "We're going to see that this is great for the city great for tourism. We're going to deliver that promise."

Some of the changes, especially the new painting and landscaping, are intended to make guests feel as if they are escaping reality.

Schlitterbahn hired WLE, an Austin-based landscaping company, to update the park's landscaping. The company has brought in about 30 workers from Austin and about 16 from the Corpus Christi area, said Johnny McDonnell, division manager.

"(We're) excited we can help them and grow this partnership so they can complete their dream and vision they're wanting," he said.

Other improvements to the park include replacing cabana equipment and painting pool bottoms white. New food items have also been added to the menu.

"We're hoping to find that you see that crystal blue look," Kunau said, referring white pool bottoms. "It's refreshing to swim in that."

Though the water park is on the fast track to its opening day, some parts of the park will not be open.

Twenty-two of the resort's 92 hotel rooms remain closed because of roof damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, Kunau said. During the hurricane, large pieces of the aluminum roof were torn off and air condition units were also lifted by Harvey's winds.

The golf course, which is not being used, is being maintained while the owners discuss a plan of action for the course. Kunau did not comment further about the course because discussions are ongoing.

He said his focus is on making the necessary improvements needed for the park's opening.

"We're excited and ramped up. Change is here," Kunau said. "This is not the same property that it was three weeks ago."

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May 24, 2018


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