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Summer 2012

Water park builder has right equipment formula

A Bobcat loader and excavator are needed to get large construction projects completed.

Tom Makowski

Tom Makowski

Tom Makowski has been a leader in the water park industry for more than three decades. He holds several patents related to the construction of water parks and the building of flat-surface pools.

So when it came time to purchase a skid-steer loader and compact excavator to help his business accomplish more work in less time, he turned to Bobcat Company, the industry leader in compact equipment.

“We couldn’t do our projects without these machines on site,” says Makowski, speaking of his Bobcat® S185 skid-steer loader and 331 excavator. “We use them every day we are on the job. I also like the fact that wherever we go in the country, there is a Bobcat dealer to provide service and rent additional equipment.”

His company has designed and built dozens of water parks and pools throughout the United States, including Adventure Landing (Daytona Beach, Fla.), Knight’s Action Waterpark (Springfield, Ill.), Surfside Waterpark (Auburn, Ala.), Adventure Bay (Des Moines, Iowa) and Kentucky Splash (Williamsburg, Ky.).

Adventure Bay, Des Moines, Iowa

Adventure Bay, Des Moines, Iowa

All the pools are custom-designed and the parts are manufactured in Erie, Pa., where Aquatic Pools and Construction is headquartered. The components, along with the Bobcat loader and excavator, are trucked to the jobsite. It typically takes about nine months to design and build a water park.

A dynamic duo

Makowski’s newest project — Splash Lagoon — did not require much transportation. The indoor water park, which is attached to a hotel in Erie, illustrates the valuable role of the S185 and 331 working together.

“Once we begin work inside the building, we cannot do without these machines,” he says. “The loader grades, backfills and moves materials around. Installing the plumbing and filtration systems is a huge job; we use the excavator to dig all the trenches. Space is very limited so we also use the excavator to move our stainless-steel components around. The 331 lifts materials high enough to pass over what is taking place on the ground level. The reach of the excavator is critical when building what we call the ‘lazy river’ portion of the park. We use the excavator with auger attachment to dig the 600 to 700 post holes that are required to construct the river area.”

Makowski, builder of the first stainless-steel wave pool, has been using Bobcat equipment since 1992. He says the versatility and maneuverability of the machines, purchased from Bobcat of Erie, are important to his success.

“Each design and construction situation is unique; there are always new challenges to overcome, especially working in limited access areas. The Bobcat equipment adapts very well to whatever we encounter.”

Family campground relies on Bobcat compact tractor

Water park builder Tom Makowski also owns Sparrow Pond Family Campground in Erie, Pa. The 240-acre site has 147 camping sites and includes a wave pool, a snow-tubing hill, an activity building for events such as weddings and dorms for visiting foreign exchange students. “Managing the campground became easier in the last two years when I added a Bobcat® CT450 compact tractor,” he says. “We use it all the time, including grading roads with the angle blade attachment and mowing fields. The CT450 fits right in with all of the other Bobcat equipment I have owned — durable, dependable and very valuable.”