Last updated: February 20. 2013 1:46AM - 1042 Views

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TOBYHANNA TWP. ‚?? A Wisconsin company hopes to break ground this year on a $350 million resort that would include 450 rooms and suites, a 100,0000-square-foot indoor water park, a two-acre outdoor water park, a 65,000-square-foot convention center, a 30,000-square-foot indoor theme park/arcade and 6,000 square feet of retail space including two full-service restaurants.

And that‚??s only the first of three phases, according to Kalahari Resorts, which operates two similar resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and Sandusky, Ohio.

Company officials presented a preliminary land development plan to the Tobyhanna Township Planning Commission on Thursday as the first step of what could ultimately lead to a late 2014 opening near Pocono Manor.

The commission took no vote Thursday but will make a recommendation to the township‚??s board of supervisors, which will have the final say on whether to grant or deny approval. If approved and the project opens, it would be the second indoor water park in that part of Monroe County. A few miles south, Great Wolf operates an indoor water park in Scotrun.

Todd Nelson, owner and president of Kalahari Resorts, issued a statement spelling out the Wisconsin Dells-based company‚??s plans.

‚??Our goal in the Pocono Mountains is to build on the success of our Midwest locations by providing regional tourists with a world-class destination for families and unmatched convention facilities for business groups,‚?Ě he said.

The project, the company said, could create more than 1,500 new jobs once completed and boost the Pocono Mountains tourism industry. An economic impact study prepared by Hotel and Leisure Advisors estimates that the project would add about 1,200 construction jobs and another 700 full- and part-time jobs during its first year of operation.

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