Governor breaks ground on new ‘splashground’ at Occoneechee

A ground breaking for the new “splashground” facility was held at Occoneechee State Park on Monday. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and his family were there to show their support.

McAuliffe had a goal of visiting all 37 state parks in Virginia, and he said he saved the best for last, ending his journey at Occoneechee State Park in Clarksville. He not only had a chance to visit and do a few activities at the park, but he also spoke at the groundbreaking on how amazing all the Virginia State Parks are.

The “splashground,” a water activity facility that has proven very popular in other parks without the costs and requirements of a swimming pool, will be the second constructed in a Virginia State Park, the first being at Pocahontas State Park. McAuliffe said when he visited Pocahontas State Park their “splashground” was “jammed,” so he said he thinks this will be a great addition to Occoneechee.

McAulliffe also said he focuses 99.9 percent of his time on economic development, and with Occoneechee State Park bringing in $4.2 million dollars to the local economy, he sees this project as a great moneymaker for the state.

The “splashground” is one of the projects funded under a $5.6 million budget amendment approved by the General Assembly in 2015.

State Sen. Frank Ruff is a strong supporter of the “splashground” water facility, but he had a few comments on the amount of time it took to get the project moving.

Ruff said, “It took from then until now to get this far,” and he went on to say, “This is the 21st century, yet we are still operating on 18th century timeframe.”

Despite the amount of time it took to get to the point the project is at now, Ruff is glad the project is moving forward.

Del. Tommy Wright was there to show his support and said he believes “the new facility will be a wonderful asset to the area” and hopes it will bring more people to Occoneechee State Park.

Construction on the project is set to begin in 30 days, and it should last approximately 300 days depending on weather. The park hopes to open the “splashground” in May of 2018.