‘We have big ideas’: Plans in place to ‘slide’ Pike County park into tourist destination

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 10:53 PM EDT
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HARDY, Ky. (WYMT) - A new venture in the Belfry community hopes to see tourists pouring into the Pond Creek area.

“This is a good area. An area that’s not being utilized real good right now. And we want it. We want to do things here,” said Matt Varney. “We have big ideas.”

Varney and his partner Danny Oliver announced plans Thursday to give Hardy Park a new face. The “Feuding Falls Campground and Waterpark,” taking its name form the area’s historic Hatfield and McCoy feud, will bring a host of new activities to the park.

“It’s gonna take time. We’ve got to be patient. We’re wanting to do a lot, but it’s a slow process. But we’re working on it and this is a big step today,” Varney said.

The upgrades are all about creating a place for families to enjoy, without forcing them to travel long distances.

“We want them to stay right here and be able to do that,” Varney said. “A lot of people can’t travel like that. Between time and money, we want to be able to provide that place for our youth.”

According to Oliver, the duo hopes to see the first of several phases complete by Memorial Day 2021. That phase includes adding two 250 foot slides to the pool area and designating a campground on-site.

Local officials like Dist. 3 Commissioner Brian Booth are also on board, saying it is a blessing to see people in the community who want to work to bring out the best it has to offer.

“Instead of taking their money and just going on and moving to Lexington or to Tennessee or somewhere, they are wanting to take everything that they have and invest it right here in this area for the people of Pike County,” Booth said.

The men also hope to put the entire space of the park to use, adding a kids area and more where the tennis courts are currently located. And, in the future, they hope to add cabins on the property.

In the meantime, they are excited for the first phase and the support they are already seeing from local leaders and their neighbors. But they are also hopeful for the tourism opportunities that come with adding the park to the list of local adventure tourism opportunities.

“For local people to have something to do, but we want to bring in people,” said Varney. “We want to make it nice enough to where people would come in from away from here and spend their money here in eastern Kentucky.”

Construction for the water slides is expected to begin in September, pending any issues, and the pool should open by spring 2022, with the campground expected around the same time.

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