Suburban water park goes under

December 22, 2009 4:09:28 AM PST
A major source of jobs and tax revenue will soon be gone in the northwest suburbs.The owners of the Sheraton Hotel in Arlington Heights informed employees over the weekend that the hotel and its 65,000 square foot water resort will close next Monday.

It's called the Sheraton Chicago Northwest Coco Key Water Resort. It's a long name for the new water park next to the Arlington Park Race Track. But apparently costs were up and business was down and the management made a difficult decision.

In the dead of winter it's a great getaway. Ask Kyle Krcmar.

"There's a lot of cool water slides. You can go in twos. There is a body slide that goes outside and comes back in. It's really fun," said Krcmar.

But the facility that opened almost three years ago will close December 28th. On Monday, management of Sheraton Chicago Northwest Coco Key Water Resort met with staff.

A spokesperson issued a statement saying: "Given the state of the economy in the Chicagoland market and the continued fall off of local business travel and corporate markets, it is not economically viable to continue with hotel operations."

"A big hotel like this...it's a complete surprise," said Mayor Arlene Mulder of Arlington Heights.

Mulder is concerned about revenue loss for the village and job loss for local families. The facility employees over 200 people.

"My heart goes out to them. It's a shock to them. It's a shock to us. But to them, it's their livelihood. It's contributing to their families and their holiday season and i feel very badly for them," said Mayor Mulder.

The general manager of the facility tells ABC7 occupancy is down 15-percent and rates were down in order to be competitive.

Some visitors were surprised by the news on Monday.

"I was actually shocked because I usually see a lot of people here. A lot of people I know have come to the water park" said Erman Ramos.

Kyle's mom had actually planned a returned trip in January for the family but she was issued a refund on Monday.

"It was close. It's not super expensive. It's a great little getaway with our family coming in from out of town. That's why we chose to do it," said Kim Krcmar.

The spokesperson's statement refers to months of adjusting operations, negotiations with the union and increases in real estate tax that added to the strain of fewer visitors. But apparently the troubles are specific to the Chicago area because Coco Key is opening a new park in Florida.


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