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Splash wraps up solid summer

            With any luck, this weekend’s rain won’t dampen the last weekend Splash in the Boro is open.

            Splash is wrapping up another successful season, though this year’s final numbers are expected to be slightly below last year’s totals. That is due in primarily to the shorter summer caused by school’s early start.

        Regardless, the park is likely to surpass 100,000 visitors for the fourth year in a row and has already brought it over $1 million in gross revenue.

            “We’ve had a successful year as you can tell,” said Steve Brown, aquatic director for Bulloch Parks and Recreation. “We’re averaging more per day than we did last year, but we had a shorter year.”

        Even though overall numbers are down, the average visits per day rose to 1335 visits and total revenues were up over $9.50 per visitor.

       This year just over 30 percent of the entrants to the park purchased discounted tickets or season passes. This means nearly 70 percent of the visitors are likely from outside Bulloch County.

    Brown said he thought people from out-of-town purchased most of the full price tickets since most local folks know about the discount.

    Discounts to the park come in a variety of forms. Most popular is the proof of Bulloch county residency discount. Also, current military, GSU student and OTC student IDs are accepted as well.

       The number of season passes sold this year is 940. Though this is slightly down from last year, Brown said this is because of the different way they sold season passes. Most of the season ticket holders are local.

    ”Before, we had a family pass which included up to five season passes. Rather than doing the family passes this year, we sold individual passes,” Brown said. “The reason the total number is lower, is that people would give out that fifth pass to people who wouldn’t really use it. This year, there wasn't any waste."

       The $5 million dollar Splash in the Boro and the Aquatic Center opened for the first time in June 2004 with funds collected form the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST).

There are some possible expansions being planned for Splash, but don’t look for them until at least summer 2009.

County Manager Tom Couch said he and the Recreation Advisory Committee are looking at expansion, but think that waiting a year would be a big benefit.

“We are looking at it for the future, but I don’t think the timing is right at the moment,” Couch said. “Last year, we engaged a professional consultant with expertise in the water park business to put together a 5-year business plan for expansion.”          

       Though no decisions about future attractions have been made the consultant listed some possibilities.

The first option would add a four-lane pad-racer, where up to four people could race each other down the slide. Riders would even be able to race against the clock.

        Other possibilities include increasing the spray features in the horseshoe shaped area near the leisure pool. Brown said this area is underutilized at the moment.

        Adding a beach area to the lazy river on the far end of the park, the opposite end from the pools, is also being considered This feature would include a sandy area for play or laying out and would have a small pool area where individuals would be able to enter the lazy river.

        Other less exciting but functional enhancements include modifying the entrance to facilitate better traffic flow and adding a building near the lifeguard building to be used as classroom or meeting space.

Upcoming activities in the fall include water aerobics, lap swims, parent and tot swimming, and family recreational swims. There will also be a water safety instruction course starting September 15th and a lifeguard instruction course that starts in November.

        The various fall activities have limited availability and have a small fee associated with each one. Visit the website for more details at www.splashintheboro.com.

        Also, during the Bulloch County schools’ October break, there will be daily activities from 10 a.m. to noon. From diving board instruction to kayak lessons to pool games, there will be plenty of distractions for the week off. Entrance fee is only $3 per person.

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