GRAND PRAIRE (CBSDFW.COM) – Grand Prairie is only months away from opening an enormous, retractable roof water park. But that is only one piece of what the city says is an economic puzzle that could change the city forever.
The city hopes it is part of a rash of building projects that will lure visitors into town and into the mom and pop shops desperate for new customers.
“Do y’all need some more time to look at the menu?” Kimberly Carrillo asked her customers as they looked at the daily specials.
Afternoons can be slower than the owners of Jimmy’s Big Burgers would like. But they’re hoping the new, huge, retractable water park and recreation center down the street will be part of a an economic surge for the area. The city predicts more than 300,000 visitors will visit the city-financed water park every year.
“A lot of times it is slow during lunch time,” Carrillo said. “It’s going to get a lot more faster, busier. And too, families are gonna have a good work out over there and then come here and have a good lunch.”
But the water park is just a drop in the bucket for the city’s economic plan.
“We have only one shot to develop along the George Bush Turnpike,” Mayor Ron Jensen said. “This is our one shot.”
There’s already an IKEA under construction in that corridor. The furniture stores typically draw huge numbers of fiercely loyal, regional visitors. They also draw the attention of other businesses looking for new places to do business.
“It’s going to change, it’s going to revolutionize the city of Grand Prairie,” Mayor Jensen. “The city of Grand Prairie is underserved in retail and restaurants. Two years from now I think that will be reversed.”
Already the Grand Prairie website lists projects underway: new high end and fast food eateries, hotels, hospitals, even a wal-mart right next to Jimmy’s Big Burgers.
“Oh yeah! With the Walmart and all the other construction it’ll be great having a lot more business,” Carrillo smiled.