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Splash seeing huge increase in attendance
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      The "stay-cation" appears to be a very real phenomenon, and the evidence of such is right here in our own backyard. The Statesboro Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department's water park, Splash in the Boro, is posting record attendance numbers this summer.
       This past Sunday, park attendance eclipsed 100,000 which is 32,000 more than this time last year - 54 days into the 84 day season. SBCPRD operations manager Chad Avret attributes this year's phenomenal success to three different factors.
       "We added three new areas to the park this year and that has been a big draw," Avret said. "In addition, we have done some targeted marketing. But to achieve these kinds of numbers, I think you have to get people to come back again and again, not just once."
       Avret said the feel of the park and its dedicated staff may be the biggest factors of all.
       "We want Splash to have a very 'Disney-esque' feel," he said. "We want all of our staff to be very friendly and helpful, and we want it to be very clean and inviting. From concession staff to lifeguards and maintenance staff, everyone is doing a wonderful job, and it shows in our numbers."
       Bulloch County Commissioner Jan Tankersley took her 3-year-old grandson to Splash this past Friday and said they both had a wonderful time.
       "Even though there were lots of people, you really didn't have to stand in line for any length of time," she said. "You can tell immediately that it is very well managed, and the staff is doing a tremendous job."
       Avret said last year's total attendance was 106,000. He believes this year's attendance is trending towards 145,000.
       "We hoped that with the new attractions we would get a big boost in attendance, but maybe not this much," he said. "We projected total revenue to be around $1.625 million, but it may end up at $1.85 million. Last year, total revenues were $1.2 million."
       Last week, I was reminiscing with Frank Hook about the "old" recreation department on Fair Road where I worked during the summers when he was the director. Things change, and it is not the "scene" anymore, but I am completely proud of our current recreation department and what they have to offer.