CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The city of Chula Vista has a big smile on its face in the wake of SeaWorld's purchase of Knott's Soak City.
"I was very pleased, to say the least," said Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox.
SeaWorld said it would upgrade the water park, located in the southern part of the city, just east of Interstate 805.
Some Chula Vista residents told 10News the park was rundown and not a big draw.
"I do remember it kind of looking a little old and the water wasn't the cleanest," said Chula Vista resident Araceli Trasvina.
SeaWorld will rename the park Aquatica after the upgrades and the additions of new rides and animals. It's expected to increase Chula Vista's tourism industry and could also increase investor interest in the rest of the city, especially to its 550-acre bayfront. The massive development is already zoned for a resort hotel.
"I'm sure the president of SeaWorld has some pretty good friends," said Cox.
It can also speed up the development of city roads. Currently, the area surrounding the future Aquatica is largely undeveloped. SeaWorld's purchase could push development along and open new arteries on Chula Vista's east side. Plans currently include extending Main Street East to connect with Hunte Parkway and extending Heritage Road to the south to connect to Main Street.
Aquatica is expected to be ready for visitors by next summer.
"SeaWorld coming, I think, is the beginning of a very good year," said Cox.