ASHLAND – Prepare for your next family trip to... Ashland?
The small town of around 4,000 will soon be home to a brand new entertainment park.
Mayor Richard Sullivan and The Pinball Company and Parks Amusement CEO Nic Parks announced plans to transform land alongside Highway 63 on Facebook Live Wednesday evening.
Lakeside Ashland will be located right off the Route H and Log Providence Road exit, shared with the Columbia Regional Airport.
The small town has been quickly growing in size over the last few years mainly due to housing, something Sullivan notes cannot be sustained alone.
“Ashland cannot continue just to grow with residential housing,” Sullivan said. “I'm always looking at new businesses and opportunities for our community grow commercially and also bring jobs.”
Parks originally planned the project for Columbia, but after discovering 37 acres and getting in contact with Sullivan, he knew Ashland was a great fit.
"I wanted to support them since they are so welcoming to businesses," Parks said. "We found the land, we fell in love with the land. We put it under contract, and we just closed last week."
Development will take part in phases. Phase 1 includes creating the lake, which is planned to be completed by this spring, Parks said in the livestream.
Phase 2 of the project includes the development of the lakeside movie drive-in and amphitheater. The amphitheater will also host concerts, outdoor festivals and other events, according to the Columbia Missourian. Parks expects Phase 2 to be completed by this summer.
With so many different suggestions from the public, Park hopes to create something for everyone.
“This is all about families,” Parks said in the virtual reveal. “It’s all about providing everything-everybody in the family with something to do.”
Parks also aims to benefit the entire community with his vision. His company will fund the project, while the city benefits from tax revenue.
Any profits will find their way back into the community.
"Those dollars will support local charities support local jobs and local contractors," Parks says. "That's at the core of me as an entrepreneur is just having an impact."
Parks also brought Level Up to the Columbia Mall in 2019 and Silverball to downtown Columbia in 2017.