UPDATE: Proposed Jellystone Park gets new life in Mason County

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MASON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - UPDATE: 4/24/19 10:30 A.M.

It's been about six months since Jellystone Park was first proposed along Route 35 in Mason County.

Setbacks because of a lack of a sewer line have put plans for the park at a standstill for weeks. However, community members and developers from Jellystone met on Tuesday to discuss questions and the status of the project.

"We took a different route than a normal business. We involved the community,” developer Lance Thornton said.

It is the interest from those community members that has convinced developers to make Mason County work despite interest from other nearby counties and cities.

"The county residents want us, and we're not going to give up on them, Thornton said. "So we're going to give this another try."

On Monday, Mason County leaders and park developers met with members of the West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice's cabinet, renewing hopes for the park to be built where it was originally intended.

"I would say our hopes have skyrocketed for it to be Mason County,” Thornton said.

But the sewer issue still stands. One idea is to charge a resort fee to pay for the infrastructure that's needed to make the park possible.

"We’ll pay $3 for every night that someone rents a cabin, then we've also said that we'll put a $3 resort fee for every night for even the tents, even the RVS, and all that,” Thornton said.

The goal is to make a summer dream a reality in Mason County.

"It’s easy for us to go somewhere else, but we know what's needed in this county. We know that it's wanted in this county,” Thornton said.


Concerns about sewer-line issues could prompt a company that proposed building a waterpark in Mason County to locate elsewhere in the region.

That information came out Thursday night at a Mason County Commission meeting.

Last fall, developers proposed the construction of a Water World and Jellystone Park Resort in Mason County. The park would be operated by Yogi Bear Jellystone Resorts.

Developers bought land along U.S. 35. The land neighbors the Morgan Mount Vernon Farm and Manson of Southside in Mason County.

The proposed park would be the 86th Jellystone park in the country and reportedly the largest. It would feature 200 cabins, a bed and breakfast, and 500 RV sites. It would bring in about 2,000 customers per day, spending on average $63 a day in the community, according to a Jellystone official at Thursday's meeting.

Park officials say the county is asking for the park to buy the land before the county commits to a sewer line. They say they're looking at Putnam County and Gallia County, Ohio, as possible alternatives.

County commissioners in Mason County say expanding the sewer system in the county could cost them as much as $31 million.

A Jellystone Park official said county officials with interest in the park could reach out to lance@raineater.com with inquiries.