The original owner, Durell Shellhamer, briefly reopened Terry Hill Water Park in 2011 after two years of renovations.
Shellhamer, 74, had sold the park in 1998, but got it back in 2008 when the buyers couldn't make payments. That's when he began those repairs. Now he has it listed for sale again, for $1.2 million.
“It’s a good little business," he said. "But it’s a lot of work.”
The water park opens for this season on Saturday.
Terry Hill was once the water park in the area. Shellhamer’s family built the large pool in 1968 for the Terry Hill Estates trailer park next door and he coached a terrific swim team there during the 1970s, he said.
In 1980, he started building the water park by installing the first two slides before many people in the area had even heard of water parks, Shellhamer said. In 1986, Dorney Park opened Wildwater Kingdom and his customer base ebbed a bit. But patrons came back to Terry Hill and it was doing pretty well when he sold the business in 1998 to the owners of the Blue Falls Grove in Reading, he said.
The new owners operated it for several years and added some Halloween activities, becoming “Terror Hill” with a haunted house and haunted hayride each October. But the owners weren’t able to pay the taxes and the property went into foreclosure, Shellhamer said. He was able to save it from a Sheriff's sale in 2008 and paid about $388,000 owed in taxes through that year.
The park needed a lot of work, and it stayed closed in 2009 and 2010 while he and Tracy Grupe, the general manager, remodeled it. They reopened last year on July 4, but closed Aug. 20 after a rainy August.
Shellhamer has the 43-acre park up for sale for $1.2 million and that includes two houses and two apartments as well as all the equipment to run the park. The Lehigh County reassessment put the value of the property at $1.8 million, he said.
If someone wants to buy it, Shellhamer said he'd be happy to stay on to show the new owner how to run it. "My Speedo just came in last week and I just can't throw that away," he joked.