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New World Inn & Conference Center, Columbus, Nebraska
 Adds $1.1 million Pirate-Themed Indoor Water Park

By Adrian Sanchez, Columbus Telegram, Neb.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Nov. 26, 2008 - --COLUMBUS -- New World Inn & Conference Center hopes to attract booty to Columbus with its recent addition -- Discovery Island.

New World Inn is hoping its new $1.1 million, 7,500-square-foot pirate-themed indoor water park will attract outside dollars and provide an additional entertainment option for locals.

The water park includes a pirate boat with fountains and slides. It also includes a four-foot pool with three water slides and hoop for water basketball, along with a concession stand.

Cori Wendt, general manager of New World Inn, said this idea has been in the works for nine years and was constructed to try and attract more tourists, travelers, families, reunions and conferences.

"Our goal is to bring people in from a 200-mile radius," Wendt said. "We hope it is a huge success."

During its soft opening during the weekend, she said the new water park received a great response, not just from guests at the hotel, but locals as well.

Wrist bands are available for $10 and provides admission for the full day. Room packages also may be purchased that include wrist bands.

Wendt said this is the first of two phases with the second phase, which will include a big body slide, expected to be constructed within the next few years.

She said local contractors were utilized for each part of the project unless there was no one available locally to conduct the work.

Phil Raimondo, co-CEO of Behlen Mfg. Co., said Behlen was proud to work with New World Inn on this project and demonstrates what the Columbus area can do when working together.

It is projects like this that keep dollars in Columbus and infuses outside dollars into the local economy.

"Its wonderful and is one of the key reasons Columbus is as successful as it is," Raimondo said. Improvements and expansions that attract outside travelers "helps us save jobs in the community and provides jobs in the community."

K.C. Belitz, president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, said while other areas of the county may be facing harsh economic troubles, Columbus is proactive in trying to counter such impacts locally. The chamber presented a Progress Award to New World Inn for the expansion.

"During a softer economy like this, it is great to have businesses invest and have the confidence to invest" in Columbus, Belitz said. Also, "being able to bring dollars into the community is critical."

Mayor Mike Moser said he hopes the New World Inn addition will draw in new visitors and increase revenue from sales tax and lodging tax as well as provide additional customers for local businesses.

"We are grateful to New World Inn for this expansion. Any expansion to Columbus is great," Moser said, "(because) it builds the economic base."


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