The official reopening date for Irvine’s Wild Rivers is on the horizon, now that the $60 million water park project has acquired the necessary funding.
While the project was expected to break ground in April, Mike Riedel, president of Wild Rivers, explained that selling the bonds for financing was a “rocky road” to endure, but being able to solidify funding was a monumental step in this project.
“Even in the last week, the deal blew up four times, and had to be put back together,” Riedel said during a phone call with Irvine Weekly on Thursday, July 1. “But, calm heads prevailed and we ended up getting it done, and there are a lot of people responsible.”
Riedel added that the official groundbreaking ceremony for Wild Rivers Waterpark in Irvine will take place on Wednesday, July 7 at 2:00 p.m.
With city approval already in place for months, Riedel explained that while funding was a secondary component, it was the most critical in moving this project into construction. Riedel added that the last few months have been frustrating, admitting that the process of acquiring the necessary funding was “incredibly difficult” for him and his team.
“It’s been a very rocky road. It’s come with a lot of hardships and events that were just uncanny – unbelievable things that would have to happen to make it not work,” he said. “But at the end of it, I’ve got a better team – I got a stronger team – I’ve got a team I believe in more than any group of people I’ve had before.”
In addition to the waterpark’s official ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday, July 7, Irvine City Councilmember Anthony Kuo, along with Riedel, will also be hosting a Town Hall Meeting for the public to ask questions and address concerns for this project.
“We’ve been planning this town hall for a couple weeks now, but this morning he let me know that all the financing has been secured,” Kuo said. “With all that, with all the permitting done, it’s just a matter of breaking ground and getting into construction.”
Kuo, a life-long resident of Irvine, expressed excitement for the project, adding that the waterpark has been somewhat of a staple in Irvine. Kuo also said that his conversations with Riedel have led him to estimate that Wild Rivers Irvine could open by mid Summer 2022.
“I don’t think it’ll be the beginning of next season, but probably the middle of next season – so probably 12 to 13 months from now,” according to Kuo.
As for Riedel, he hopes to be relaxed, and doesn’t plan too far ahead for town hall-style events. But he said he was prepared to share the differences between Wild Rivers 2.0, and is hopeful the larger site design and newer attractions will get people excited for next summer.
“I know my project, I know the history well. We’ll do some general overview of what to expect, how it’s different. I would certainly express the fact that the waterpark is much bigger, the rides are much better,” Riedel explained. “Wild Rivers 1.0 had a number of weak rides, and a number of great rides that you couldn’t recreate because of the regulatory requirements, but these rides will be more tried and true than the Wild Rivers 1.0 rides.”