“Our community has benefited greatly from the water park because it’s certainly a regional attraction,” Yorkville economic development consultant Lynn Dubajic Kellogg said. “They have visitors that come from, I think, all 50 states and internationally, too, because it is the largest outdoor water park in the state of Illinois.”
One way Raging Waves has helped the area is through the creation of jobs.
“They have created a lot of jobs for youth in our area and also other people,” Kellogg said. “They actually have people at the water park 365 days a year. And people don’t really realize that. They’ve been a great source of employment for our area.”
The 58-acre Raging Waves, at 4000 N. Bridge St. in Yorkville, just off Route 47, will open for the season at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 10. The water park is set to stay open through Sept. 4, weather permitting.
“When people go to the water park, they find out about Yorkville.”— Yorkville economic development consultant Lynn Dubajic Kellogg
New this season is a new themed entrance with convenient mobile ticket redemption, brand-new decking and lounge chairs, and additional seating and shade spaces around the park. When Raging Waves first opened, Kellogg was the executive director of the Yorkville Economic Development Corporation. That entity dissolved in 2015.
Raging Waves attracts more than 300,000 visitors a year, which has helped to get Yorkville in the spotlight.
“When people go to the water park, they find out about Yorkville,” Kellogg said. “Many of them didn’t know where Yorkville was. And while they’re here, they spend other dollars here. Now there’s a Gas N Wash located adjacent to the water park. People go there and fill up their cars with gas and spend money in the convenience store.”
Other businesses in Yorkville also benefit from the water park, including restaurants, stores and hotels, she said.
“It’s been a wonderful asset to Yorkville. Most certainly, there’s been a positive economic benefit to the city of Yorkville because of the water park.”
Community leaders were happy to see the water park open. As Kellogg noted, Raging Waves located in an area that had been identified as “attracting this type of business.”
“Route 47 is a very busy road and we had property that was identified in our Comprehensive Plan to attract regional business,” she said. “This is certainly a regional type business. So our elected officials and our residents were all very welcoming to Raging Waves.”
Cort Carlson, executive director for the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said having Illinois’ largest outdoor water park in Yorkville is “certainly a selling tool for us to bring visitors to the area.”
He said those visiting Raging Waves include people from outside the general area.
“The Peoria-Bloomington region, Quad Cities, Champaign-Urbana and Decatur are probably our top biggest outside feeder markets,” Carlson said. “People are coming up from those areas to visit and to go to the water park. If someone’s going to drive three or four hours to visit, it’s a very good indication that they’re probably going to stay overnight because that’s a long haul to spend a few hours at a water park and then go home again. Or they are coming in for other reasons and also using the water park.”
Information about Raging Waves is at its website, RagingWaves.com.