Wakeboarding, waterskiing park planned for Lake Tye

MONROE — Plans to build a cable wakeboarding and waterskiing park on Lake Tye are moving forward.

Sammamish-based H3o Development expects to break ground this fall. The company plans to erect seven towers, which will carry a moving cable loop, in the south end of Lake Tye. Riders will hold lines extending down from the moving cable as they travel at about 18 mph on the water on skis, boards or skates.

“It’s like a skateboard park on the water,” said Greg Dick of H3o.

The riders are expected to have about 30 feet to carve on either side of the moving line. The cable system eliminates the need for a boat.

“It brings the sport to so many people who never had it before,” said H3o’s Brad Smith.

The cable park would be the first-of-its-kind in the state. It is expected to take up about 30 percent of the lake with a route that includes jumps and rails for advanced riders and a smaller loop for beginners.

The company plans to build business by catering to people starting out in the sport. Dick said he was so intimidated the first time he tried to go to a cable park that he packed up his board and left without getting in the water.

Smith and Dick said they started H3o five years ago to bring a cable park to the Northwest. Both men are water sports enthusiasts.

They said they chose Lake Tye because it is small and has smooth water.

The project sparked controversy when it surfaced in 2011. Some people opposed the private company using a public park to turn a profit.

The City Council approved H3o’s proposal in June of 2012.

The company has since designed a 2,500-square-foot building for the lakeside to house a pro shop for equipment rentals and retail, an event space, offices and changing rooms. H3o also plans to put in more parking spaces and improve the walking paths around the site.

H3o has been paying the city $1,000 a month in rent since October of 2013. Under the 10-year agreement, the rent is $12,000 the first year the park is open. It increases to $18,000 the second year and to $24,000 after that. H3o has also agreed to give the city 2 percent of ticket sales and collect a 5 percent admissions tax.

The city has the option to extend the deal after the 10-year period.

H3o plans to charge riders $27 for 2 hours, $34 for 4 hours, $45 for the day or $450 for the season.

Smith said H3o is looking into a possible marketing partnership with the Stevens Pass Ski Area. He envisions offering a deal on season passes at the mountain and the lake. That way people could snow ski or board in the winter and switch to the water during the summer.

In the future, Smith and Dick said, they hope to be able to quit their day jobs and run the park full-time. Dick currently works for a boat manufacturer and Smith is in the medical device industry.

H3o hopes to open the cable park open by Memorial Day weekend in 2015.

“We’re extremely committed to making this a success,” Smith said. “We want to take this model to other areas.”

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; anile@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @AmyNileReports.

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