Gaylord, Dolly Parton Announce Plans For Theme Park - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Gaylord, Dolly Parton Announce Plans For Theme Park

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two of the biggest names in Tennessee tourism have announced plans to build an amusement park near Gaylord Opryland Hotel.

Dolly Parton and Gaylord Entertainment CEO Colin Reed announced they will partner up to build a first of its kind 114 acre family entertainment zone off Briley Parkway. Its first phase will be a $50 million water and snow theme park.

PHOTOS: Dolly Announces Nashville Theme Park

Governor Bill Haslam and Mayor Karl Dean were on hand for the announcement Thursday afternoon at the Grand Ole Opry House.

The park will provide high energy water activities for the summer season and designated snow activities for winter play. Once it's open, the first year attendance is projected at 500,000, and they believe a large portion will come from out of state.

In a release, Governor Haslam said "Tourism is the second largest industry in Tennessee  generating more than $1 billion in tax revenue  annually and employing more than 170,000."

Dollywood will be the operating partner, and expects to employ 450 full and part-time employees.

A groundbreaking is expected in late 2012 or early 2013 with the park opening in summer 2014.

Dolly already has a theme park and a water park in Pigeon Forge, about 190 miles away in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.

Parton's Dollywood theme park and Splash Country attract approximately four million visitors yearly.

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