Dolly Parton ends partnership to build water park - WSMV News 4

Dolly Parton ends partnership to build water park

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Gaylord CEO Colin Reed & Dolly Parton at January's announcement to build the park. Gaylord CEO Colin Reed & Dolly Parton at January's announcement to build the park.

Country singer Dolly Parton said Friday she will no longer be connected with previously announced plans to build a water and snow park in Nashville.

The singer said in a news release that the decision was made because Gaylord stockholders this week sold operation of its Opryland Resort and Convention Center to Marriott.

"Gaylord makes decisions that they feel are good for their company and their stockholders and I have to make decisions based on what is best for me and the Dollywood Company," said Parton. "Gov. Haslam, Mayor Dean and all the folks in government have been great to work with. I really appreciate their support through this process."

"I think everyone knows I love Nashville and I hope the work we've already done will spark more family entertainment in Nashville," Parton added.

Parton held a news conference in January with the mayor and governor to announce plans to build a 114-acre park that was projected to open as early as spring 2014. Officials said the project would hire 450 full and part-time employees in the first phase of development.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Gaylord Chairman and CEO Colin Reed said:

"We are deeply disappointed in today's news that Dollywood will no longer partner with us to build a family attraction. We have enormous admiration for Dolly Parton and her company, and respect their decision. We continue to believe that a water park attraction on the property adjacent to Gaylord Opryland would be a valuable contributor to both our hotel and Nashville tourism. We will endeavor to find another quality partner so that this important tourism project can become a reality."

The project was proposed to be built in Donelson near McGavock Pike and Pennington Bend Road.

"I am disappointed with this news, but I am happy to hear that Gaylord still plans to pursue the possibility of a water park. A theme park would be great for Nashville and our tourism industry. I think the world of Dolly Parton, who has been wonderful to both Nashville and the entire state of Tennessee," Mayor Karl Dean said in a statement.

"With a little time and a little hard work, hopefully we can regenerate this or a similar development for this city. It's apparent by the previous intent that the market demand is there for this type of concept, and Nashville certainly deserves it," said Butch Spyridon, CEO and President of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, in a written statement.

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