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Former Harrah's Tunica Resort to become a water park and youth sports complex

“It seems like this year it’s really going to happen,” said Howard Mea.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Do you remember the old Harrah's Tunica Resort?

It has sat vacant for a while now, but not anymore. There are plans to turn it into a water park and youth sports complex.  

It's the talk of the town in Tunica, Mississippi.

“I’m excited about it. I’ve been here for five years. It’s been in talk for a couple years. Every spring, it seems like it comes back up,” said Howard Mea, Tunica Auction House owner. 

 Mea said this spring feels different. 

“It seems like this year it’s really going to happen,” said Mea.

Tunica Hospitality and Entertainment, LLC announced its plans to redevelop the former Harrah's Tunica Resort. 

It is a $140 million project with a 20-acre water park, youth sports complex, convention center, spa and salon, RV park, and hotels. You name it. It's there.   

“This will be great. You know everybody looks for a vacation. This could be a vacation resort,” said Mea. 

It will bring fun and opportunity together. 

The resort is expected to provide more than 650 jobs, which is something many say is needed.  

“Big time. More jobs in the area and more tourist coming through. Casinos will have more traction to people who want to come to them. It’s going to be good for everybody,” said Mea. 

After years of back and forth trying to decide what to put there, Mea said for the first time, change is in the air. 

“The first time around, they put the cart before the horse. Now they’ve put the horse before the cart. Now everybody realizes that, ‘hey. It’s going to take time for it to happen,’” said Mea. 

But, it is happening with parts of the water park expected to be complete next summer.