Editor's note: This article has been updated throughout.
Families and children in Denison will soon have another option for family fun and recreation. Denison leaders and representatives for Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park announced plans Thursday to open a new 30,000-square-foot trampoline park in the Gateway Village development at the intersection of FM 691 and U.S. Highway 75.
This will represent the first development in Grayson County for the Dallas-based entertainment company, which has locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Wichita Falls and Ardmore.
“We know families are looking for ways to spend time together — and the more active the experience, the more memorable,” Michael Browning, CEO and founder of Urban Air, said in a press release issued Thursday. “Parents want their kids off their phones, giving them less ‘screen time,’ and more time to play and engage with other kids their age the old-fashioned way.”
The new facility will feature many attractions offered at the company’s other facilities, including a ropes course, wall-to-wall trampolines, dodge ball courts, obstacle course, multi-level tube playground and the Urban Air Sky Rider indoor roller coaster. Other options that could be included in the Denison location include Drop Zone — an inflatable landing pad below a series of trampolines, and a slam dunk zone.
In the lead up to the announcement, the Denison Development Alliance board of directors approved a $200,000 incentive package for Flight Level Holdings — an offshoot of Covenant Development — for the development of infrastructure and site improvements for the location in advance of construction. DDA President Tony Kaai said this agreement is identical to an incentive offered to Covenant in 2017 for preparations at the HeyDay Entertainment site.
Outside of this incentive for Flight Level Holdings, Kaai said the project will not receive incentives from the city itself.
The venue will be owned by Gene Litteken, who owns the Ardmore location. Denison officials said the two locations will be operated by the Litteken family.
“My family is excited to join the Denison community and bring this new entertainment venue to families in the Texoma region,” Litteken said. “We have found the more active and involved you stay with the children in our lives the better the relationships that are formed.”
Litteken said he expects to have the groundbreaking for the development some time before the end of January, with construction expected to take six to nine months.
Annie Harlow, co-owner of Urban Air Texoma and daughter of Litteken, said the family’s first location opened in Ardmore about 14 months ago. Since then, the family has been scouting locations for its second venture, she said.
“Once we decided we wanted to be in Texoma, we looked at a couple locations, but we just kept coming back here,” Harlow said.
This represents the second major entertainment venue to announce plans to build in Gateway Village. The new trampoline park will be located just west of the future HeyDay Entertainment location, which was announced in mid 2017. This will also put the new venue near Denison’s new Texoma Health Foundation Park, which opened in August.
Earlier this year, representatives with Covenant Development unveiled plans for the retail and commercial portion of the Gateway Village development, dubbing it The Shops at Gateway Village. While details at the time were limited, initial concepts for the retail hub showed two major entertainment venues as the primary anchors for the district.
At the time, only HeyDay had officially been announced, with the second entertainment venue left unknown.
With regard to HeyDay, Kaai said he does not believe that the two developments will compete heavily with each other, describing it instead as a symbiotic relationship. As the two target different markets, Kaai said their proximity will allow parents to appease the whole family in the same area.
Brad Little, co-owner of HeyDay Entertainment, said he helped in the efforts to recruit Urban Air, and described his company's relationship with it as complimentary. Little said there is an agreement in place that the businesses will not offer the same amenities, further reducing the direct competition between the venues.
“It is just going to be a one-stop shop for everyone,” he said.
Covenant Development CEO Tom Johnson said, in the press release, the Litteken family shares the same core values and vision for Gateway Village as the "Covenant Development family."
“This addition to Gateway Village is one we have been diligently working on throughout 2018," Johnson said. "There is nothing like Urban Air in our region. It complements the new THF Park, HeyDay Entertainment, the Life Activated movement and other planned projects in our master planned health lifestyle development.”