HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - Hartsville is making major progress on its $8.5 million water park, which officials say will put the city on the map as a regional tourist destination.
Construction is in full swing, with the wave pool nearing completion and work starting on the 1,000-foot lazy river. The city recently released the water park's new name, Neptune Island, and manager, Eric Tucker.
Tucker specializes in park safety and will take charge of the overall daily operations. He said he expects Neptune Island to make a big splash economically for Hartsville.
"At the water park, it's just not the features, it's not just the rides. We're going to be able to host birthday parties, groups," Tucker said. "Like I said from before in the past, we had a splash pad that's just for the kids and for the parents. Now we have all ages - teenagers, adults, thrills, everything."
The community is just as excited.
"Just wonderful for Hartsville," resident, Rachel Wint said. "I can't even believe we're getting a water park."
"A water park in Hartsville; it's going to be exciting for the Pee Dee area all around," fellow resident LeTamra Damon said.
For people who live in the Pee Dee, a water park in their backyard is a new way to keep cool in the summer months.
"I'm one for thrills myself and my son is definitely one for thrills, and to find out that there's something close coming by, that we don't have to travel all the way to the beach, it's really exciting," Damon said.
Along with a short drive, parents believe Neptune Island will take the heat off finding something exciting for the kids during summer break.
"I have two boys and trying to find something to do during the summer is usually difficult," Wint said. "The water park just being right around the corner is going to be great - something for them to do, something fun, something different."
In addition to the lazy river, Neptune Island will also feature a zero-entry pool, a wave pool, a speed body slide, a pair of tubular water slides and three mat racing slides.
"[I] want to keep them busy as a family, but this is something not only for them, but we can incorporate as a family and all enjoy together," Damon said.
Ultimately, residents hope Neptune Island will help the city of Hartsville grow into a year-round destination for fun.
Project leaders say they will release the hiring information, hours of operation and the cost of admission at a later date.