Recently, Statesboro Parks and Recreation director Mike Rollins presented an overview of Splash in the Boro's operating results from the summer of 2012 at a Board of County Commissioners meeting. He very kindly forwarded that presentation to me, and I am going to share some of it with you.
Here is a little background. Splash opened in 2004 and 2013 will be its tenth season of operation. Phase two of development within the park was opened in 2009. It was a $4.4 million expansion.
Splash in the Boro annually generates enough revenue to cover its operating expenses, depreciation and debt service. In fact, since opening in 2004, more than $1,700,000 in operating reserves has accumulated, and its current fund balance is just above $1,000,000. It should be noted that more than $700,000 was borrowed from the Splash fund to cover Fire Department operating cost.
There is some news, however, that isn't quite as positive. Summer park attendance decreased from 148,495 in 2011 to 131,029 in 2012. The highest attendance since opening was in 2010 when 168,753 people came through the gates.
According to Rollins, some of the decrease in numbers can be attributed to a decline in local residents going to Splash. The percentage of Bulloch County resident visitors has steadily declined from about 30 percent to just 22 percent in 2012.
I asked Bulloch County manager Tom Couch if he was concerned about declining attendance over the last two summers.
"I am really not as concerned as you might think," Couch said. "Mike and his team are very good at staying ahead of the trends in the industry, and recognizing the behavior of their customers. I know they work very hard at making the product as appealing as it can be, to try and keep it fresh and new. As long as Splash continues to generate a good net operating income, things are fine."
Couch said he felt more of an effort was going to focus on attracting local residents to the park.
"It can be very difficult to get into Splash after 11:30 on a beautiful Saturday, but Sunday through Wednesday, we typically have unused capacity, and there is no wait," he said. "We want local residents to come out and enjoy the park."
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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