by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG- Erin Jerant resigned Monday evening as Parks and Recreation Chairman after the Walsenburg City Council decided to open the water park after initially deciding not to because of financial concerns.
Dave Mockmore was named Parks & Recreation Chairman, and he announced that Walsenburg Wild Waters will open Memorial Day weekend. Some out of town school groups will be in Walsenburg for a special opening on Friday, May 28 and then the official opening for the general public will be Saturday, May 29.
At Monday night’s Park & Recreation Committee meeting, Jerant says the WWW has lost money all three years and something different needs to be done. Mockmore says going to the four day per week opening is designed to not lose much money. City Administrator Alan Hein says the water park facility is ready to go for the season. Lifeguards, a manager and concession personnel still need to be hired.
Mockmore says he has been in talks with an unnamed source that may be willing to donate up to $30,000 to the operation of the water park this year in return for a letter of support from the City of Walsenburg for a project this person is working on. He says the donor may also be willing to assist the Huerfano County Chamber of Commerce with the Black Diamond Jubilee. Mockmore said he can’t disclose who this person is at this time. Until someone comes forward with money, the city council members must try to keep a handle on expenses. Mockmore says the status of the water park finances will be given at each finance meeting to track expenses. This is something that hasn’t been done in the past as it often took weeks or months to get financial data. City Treasurer Jacque Sikes told the Finance Committee, “You have to get reports you can understand.” She went on to say, “You made a commitment to open so you may have to take money from somewhere else in the budget.”
Administrator Hein believes the financial model that he and Asst. Administrator Beth Neece have come up with, will work in keeping expenses under control. If officials see that the water park is losing too much money early in the season, they could consider action to close it down. Everyone is hoping that won’t be the case.