New Owners Jump Into Wild River Country With Big Plans

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Mar. 4, 2013 12:00 am  

“We want to come in and be known as the new Wild River Country,” said Chris Shillcutt, vice president of operations at the water park. (Photo by Mark Friedman)

New Debt

Wild River’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier, Union Insurance Co., sued in 2008 to collect the relatively small amount of $16,224 for a premium that dated back to 2004. That case settled out of court in September 2008, but more financial trouble was on its way.

In November 2008, Community Bank filed a collection lawsuit against Halcyon, charging it defaulted on its loan, which stood at $2.5 million.

Merk Mortgages also got involved in the lawsuit and said Halcyon also defaulted on its loan. Merk said it was owed $2.2 million in November 2008. That case was settled out of court in January 2010.

In June 2011, Entergy Arkansas Inc. sued Halcyon for failing to pay its $38,133 electric bill. The amount was paid and the lawsuit was dismissed the following month.

New Owners

“Over the last few years the park has been getting rundown and neglected,” said Fishman, a CPA and business investor who is one of the new owners from Florida.

Slattery, the businessman from Canada, “had lent them money years ago for that park, and as they grew, they just decided that paying the mortgage wasn’t their first goal.

“So we decided that rather than foreclose on [Hall], we bought him out and gave him a little money to go away,” Fishman said.

Hall declined to comment on the transaction.

One of Fishman’s first moves was to hire Shillcutt, a 22-year veteran of the water park industry. “His role in the industry has been to take nonperforming parks and make them successful,” Fishman said.

Shillcutt’s plans include adding revenue by renting the park to companies during the offseason for team-building or challenge courses.



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