The Wild Rivers Waterpark project, Irvine’s soon-to-be waterpark, slated to be located inside the Orange County Great Park, is expected to begin construction in April, according to Wild Rivers Water Park President Mike Riedel.

“We’re just going through the process, finishing up construction documents, finishing up all the things we need to close our loan,” Riedel said on Tuesday, Jan. 26, during a phone interview with Irvine Weekly. “We’re hoping to be in the ground probably April-ish – and then open in May 2022.” 

Despite the fact that construction is still a few months away, Riedel said his days are only getting busier.

“It’s actually crazy busy now. We’re working on getting the website back up. The way I focus on stuff is like the next hurdle, so I don’t really plan two, or three hurdles down the road,” Riedel said. “The first step, obviously, is continuing on with the construction drawings so we can go in for permits. We’ve already submitted a rough grade demolition permit – we need permits to be able to start the buildings and attractions – it’s kind of a miss-mash but everything is intertwined.”

As the project moves forward, Riedel said the process has been smooth thus far, adding that getting approval from the Irvine Planning Commission in November was a big step in keeping the construction timeline on track for early 2021.

“I wouldn’t say that we’re behind. The construction documents have moved more quickly than we thought. It’s such a fluid, dynamic situation to tell at this point and time, if we’re really behind,” he said. “There’s a bunch of things we had to do. I think getting the planning commission approval in November was really helpful.” 

For now, the focus for Riedel is on permitting, but he’s excited to debut Wild Rivers’ long list of attractions.

“We’re going to start with four six-person, family raft rides – which is unprecedented, I think, for a new park to have that many,” he said.

In terms of rides, in July, Rieder was excited to announce the new Wild Rivers design includes some old favorites from the original 1986 design.

However, there will be significant upgrades to the look and feel to the new Wild Rivers Water Park.

“We brought back the Bombay Blasters slide, which is an iconic Wild Rivers ride. It’s a tube slide that goes underneath the ground. And a ride that will be called “Switzer,” which was kind of a transitional ride for the little kids, before they start riding the bigger rides.”

In September, Wild Rivers broke its social media silence, showing off the new Wild Rivers logo, along with a logo for a new ride called, Tortuga.

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, the subject of Wild Rivers Waterpark appeared on the Orange County Great Park Board meeting agenda.

Joel Belding, Deputy Direction of Planning & Development for the city of Irvine provided a project development progress report for the Wild Rivers project.

During his update, Belding echoed Riedel’s comments, adding that FivePoint Holdings is also involved to add an extension to Great Park Blvd. in order to accommodate the increase in traffic that this project will create.

“They’ve been working on the construction drawings and financing to advance their project, as a part of that FivePoint Communities will be constructing a portion of Great Park Blvd. that extends along the north boundary of their project,” Belding said.

Belding also added that Irvine will be working with a parking lot designer to help the construction and landscaping of a 1,200 space parking lot that will be utilized by Wild Rivers and the Orange County Great Park.

There’s a city aspect to that, too. There’s a parking lot with about 1,280 parking spaces that will be built adjacent to that, that will provide parking for Wild Rivers when it’s in operation, and then supplementary parking for the Great Park when it’s not.” 

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