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Competing water park owner says new park on the verge of shutting him down

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KINSTON, N.C. -

A new multi-million dollar water park in Kinston is attracting crowds from far and wide.
     
Management said it's providing a much-needed economic boost to the area.
     
But the owner of a family-run water park across town said it's also on the verge of shutting him down.

The Lions Water Adventure Park at the Woodmen Community Center has only been open for a little over a month and the crowds won't quit.
     
But while business is booming, it's creating some problems for another water park across town.

The lines don't lie.

Since opening on Memorial Day, the Lions Water Adventure Park has attracted thousands of people from all over the east.

"We're bringing new people to the community, which is affecting our hotels, our restaurants and everything, so it's a big community asset," said Kelly Cannon, Dir., Woodmen Community Center.

But as crowds have grown, they've started to shrink at West Water Park across town.

"The other park that's been built in Kinston has definitely hurt us. I can see our walk-in traffic has greatly declined," said Timmy West, owner of West Water Park.

Timmy West's park has been open for more than 3 decades, but he said visitors have declined by 40 percent this summer.

Rates are almost identical to those at the Woodmen Center.

"We just cannot compete," he said. "We can't compete against them."

He's still got loyal customers, but West said he's considering investing in new features like a kiddy pool playground to stay afloat.

"It's hard to go from being successful, seeing a business really thrive, then it starts going the other way," he said. "It's kind of discouraging."

Water park managers said there's room in town for the both of them. So on days when Lions Water Adventure Park hits capacity, they suggest everyone else heads over to the West Water Park.

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