Large water park, resort planned for West Virginia

Developers Lance and Susan Thornton plan to build a Yogi Bear Jellystone Park along Route 35 in Mason County. (Courtesy: Lance Thornton)

POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — Four hundred and forty-five acres of what is now farmland east of Point Pleasant, W.Va. could soon look very different thanks to developers Lance and Susan Thornton.

“We’re very excited about this opportunity,” Lance Thornton said.

He said they plan to pump $10,000,000 into building a Yogi Bear Jellystone Park with a massive water park, cabins and camping. They also plan to buy an immaculate mansion on the property with plans to turn it into a bed and breakfast, they said.

Owner Bret Morgan said he’s selling the property because the Thorntons plan to preserve the home’s history.

“I’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this house in the last 26 years,” he said.

Morgan said the property used to belong to George Washington. The mansion was modeled after his Mount Vernon home in Virginia.

"I think it’s important to say, 'hey, I’m going to camp on the same land that George Washington camped on one time,'" Morgan said.

The home will come with all of the antique furniture inside, the water park with a wave pool, splash pad, restaurant and horseback riding. The campground will have 500 R.V. sites, 60 tents and between 100 and 120 luxury cabins.

“This is not your typical campground,” Thornton said. "This is glamping."

Lance Thornton said they’re only about 70 percent sure the project will move forward. They need infrastructure, he said.

“The biggest obstacle right now is the sewer,” he said. “That’s definitely going to be a major hurdle for the county, and a major cost hurdle for us.”

Mason County Commissioner Rick Handley said they are looking into solutions, but it’s too early to say much else.

Thornton said they would hire at least 100 people at the beginning with a starting wage of $10 an hour, and attract an estimated 2,000 people a day.

“They also spend about $65 per campsite, per day, in the local community,” Lance Thornton said.

That could potentially net the area economy $50,000 a day.

If they can work through the sewer issue, Thornton said they plan to break ground in the spring and be up and running by 2020.

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