SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — During its off-time, Soaky Mountain Waterpark is undergoing several changes. The park is getting a brand new water coaster, creating more seating and shade and changing alcohol policies.
Guests heading to the waterpark for the 2022 season, which begins on May 14, will be able to brave a new thrill water coaster called ‘The Edge.’ Dave Andrews, Soaky Mountain’s general manager, said it’s a mix between WhiteWater’s Master Blaster and the Boomerango, with an added twist.
“So, riders will sit and race each other in the boats. They’ll go down, they’ll go up, they’ll go through some translucent tubes. It’s going to be a blast, and they’re going to end in a big wave wall where they’ll shoot up and hopefully come over the edge as they plunge back down to see who won,” Andrews said.
Andrews said the ride is about two football fields in length and will be located in the perfect spot in the park: right on the edge.
“We are going to hang it off the front of the park right over our ‘Hollywood’ Soaky sign, and you’re going to love it. It’s going to be so cool. There’s a piece that’s translucent at the top to truly make you feel like you’re falling over the edge,” Andrews said.
Safety is also top of mind for the 2022 season, especially after numerous alcohol-related incidents, including a fatal shooting on July 31. The shooting left Kelsy Cook, 24, of Loudon dead and another person injured.
Sarah Romine, 31, of Knoxville was charged with second-degree murder, multiple counts of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm while intoxicated following the incident. Joshua Dannels, 30, from Crossville was also arrested and charged with possession of a firearm while intoxicated.
At the time of the shooting, Romine was an employee with AMR. After the shooting, she was placed on unpaid administrative leave pending an investigation. As of Thursday, she is still on unpaid administrative leave, according to the AMR spokesperson.
“We want to make the guests safe from top to bottom. Whether it’s in the water or out of the water. So, we always look at that and review any of our processes and always try to make sure we’re as safe as possible,” Andrews said.
Shortly after the incident, the park suspended all alcohol sales, in an agreement with the Tennessee Alcohol Beverage Commission and the Sevierville Beer Commission. Andrews said they’ve already implemented changes to their alcohol policies, and plan to add more for the 2022 season. They declined to share what those changes would consist of.
“Any time that we’re going to serve alcohol in the park, you know we want to do it responsibly and we want to make sure our guests are taking that seriously and doing that responsibly as well. So, we’ll push all that stuff and make sure that that’s happening,” Andrews said.
Andrews said guests will have a lot more to look forward to for the new season, which doesn’t start until May 14. He said they listened to guests and added more shading and seating.
“So we’re going to add some concrete, we’re going to add a ton of chairs, we’re going to add some more shade, and we think that’s going to make it a great experience out here. Now, there’s already plenty of that stuff out here, so we’re just going to be adding to that, and that hopefully will just be able to give a little more elbow room,” Andrews said.
The park will have 1,000 additional seating options in 2022. As for the new water coaster, ‘The Edge,’ building is already underway.
“There’s already pieces being built, so the slide pieces, the steel, all of those parts are already in manufacture, so it’s really exciting. It’s just, you know, word gets out and you want to start seeing something, and we’ll just have to be patient on that,” Andrews said.
Those pieces are expected to start hitting the ground in the next few weeks, according to Andrews. The public will be able to stay up to date with construction on the park’s social media pages. 2022 season passes can already be purchased right now.