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Terry Hill Water Park sold

New and former owner react to WFMZ

  • Updated

Terry Hill Water Park in Lehigh County has been closed since 2014, and for sale to the right bidder.

Now the hidden gem in Upper Macungie Township has been sold.

"I view it as a diamond in the rough, and we're gonna make it sparkle," new owner John Skrip Jr. told 69 News.


Skrip is the owner of Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery, located near the water park.

He has been trying to buy the park, and the 44 acres it sits on, for nine years.

"He drives a hard bargain, I gotta say that about him," said Skrip.

Skrip is referring to the now former owner of the park, 79-year-old Durell Shellhamer, who had a blunt answer when 69 News asked if he indeed "drives a hard bargain".

"Well yeah, but...don't we all want money?" said Shellhamer.

The final deal was for $875,000.

Skrip said his wife and family are skeptical of the purchase, but he is determined to prove his vision.

"The imagination can run wild," he said with a smile.

Skrip has several potential ideas for the property.

"That's the $64,000 question that everybody wants to know," he said. "At the top of my own personal list would be a farmer's market."

He may plant grapes on part of the lot, and he thinks a public pool could work well.

"Upper Macungie Township does not have a public swimming pool. Wouldn't this be an ideal setup?" he asked.

Skrip could also imagine a 55-and-over community with small cottages on the hillside, or a deli and little restaurant on the property.

One thing is for certain.

"I have no desire to personally operate the water park," he said.

For you die hard Terry Hill fans, don't despair; he has no plans at this point to tear down the park.

In fact, while Skrip wants the land around it, the park itself is on a separate deed and is still for sale to the right person.

He's also open to the possibility of hiring someone to manage the park.

"The door is open. The possibilities are sort of endless," he said.

As for Shellhamer, he's officially retired.

"47 years. It's time to move on in my life," he said. "I'm going to enjoy the rest of the days of my life that I can, and just watch the world go by."

Shellhamer has full faith in Skrip's ability to make something great out of Terry Hill.

"He's a go-getter, he has fantastic ideas. The world is changing, and maybe that's what we need," he said.

He also had a final offer to Skrip as they shook hands Tuesday at the park.

"If you need a lifeguard, I can still do it."

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