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Water Park dilemma

by Larry Patrick

WALSENBURG- The Walsenburg Parks & Recreation Committee discussed the feasibility of opening Walsenburg Wild Waters this summer and the consensus from most City Council members in attendance Monday night, was not to do so.  Parks & Rec Chairman Erin Jerant said the City was in no financial shape to lose a large amount of money on the water park operation.  Councilman Jim Moore said the City put in $50,000 last year to get the operation balanced and then lost $75,000 in operations so they really lost around $120,000 last year.

    Mayor Bruce Quintana argued that the water park should be opened to provide jobs for youth and to assist Walsenburg businesses in getting sales from those coming to town to visit.  Some of the committee members argued that the sales tax revenue and jobs provided to youth would not offset another year of big losses for operation of the water park.

    Administrator Alan Hein said he would like to show the committee a model plan that could help offset the costs of operation.  He was also offering to manage it.  But members questioned his ability to handle those duties on top of the workload he has now in getting the wastewater treatment plant built and handling day-to-day operations of the City.  All agreed that they need a professional manager but none has applied to City advertisements for the three-month position.

    Discussion was held on trying to lease the water park out to someone interested in running the facility but most felt it was too late this year to find an interested company or individual.  The Walsenburg City Council is to take up the matter in two weeks and decide whether they will open the water park this summer or hope for better times ahead next year.  As Chairman Jerant pointed out, “We still have a lake that people can go to.”