How it started?
Splash Dayz is located on Veterans Park property, which was designated as park property known as Saddle Hills Park West, on January 10, 1995 with Resolution 595-95 & Resolution 596-95 which authorized and endorsed a project to develop what is now known as Veterans Park at a cost of $2,150,000 to be paid for with Texas Park and Wildlife grant funding and revenue bonds.
On June 27, 1995, Council approved entering into a lease with WSISD of 25 acres of Veterans Park land and the City and WSISD executed the agreement on February 6, 1996 and the agreement was renewed/amended on October 6, 2013.
On September 13, 2013, approved Resolution 20130910a following a public hearing to build a public water recreation park and issue bonds through a private placement.
On November 19, 2013 the Economic Development Corporation issued $12,600,000 in Sales Tax Bonds with a 5.02% interest rate with $7,917,042 payable through 2034 with BBVA Compass (private placement at our depository at the time).
The $0.05 cent sales tax of EDC funds the bond payment and must be paid off regardless of the future of the water park. The City is eligible to refinance the bonds in 2024 at a lower interest rate if the market allows.
How it transitioned from Hawaiian Falls to Splash Dayz?
In 2013-2014, the City constructed a water park as a promising project shared with Hawaiian Falls. The City’s cost for development, construction and start-up was $12.5 Million, with financing through Economic Development Corporation (EDC) issued bonds. The debt payments were to be paid from the proceeds of a 40-year lease with Hawaiian Falls where Hawaiian Falls would fully operate and maintain the park during the lease term. In January 2016, Hawaiian Falls informed the City that they would not be making the currently due lease payment, but wished to continue to operate the park. City Council and the Economic Development Board decided to terminate the lease agreement based on breach of contract. This led to a lawsuit which was settled in February 2020 with Hawaiian Falls making a payment of $575,000 to the City. City Council authorized a budget amendment and the City opened and operated Splash Dayz Water Park starting the summer of 2016.
As a result, the City could no longer fund City parks out of EDC funds and moved these expenditures between the General Fund and Stormwater Fund.
How's it going?
We are currently open Tuesday – Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day with a target market of families with children 12 and under with park attractions aimed at the child market. The slides, lazy river, and wave pool entertain guests of all ages but the main attractions are built for smaller children and the City is focused on maintaining this balance. This creates a 100-day season that is highly dependent on the weather for attendance. We take into consideration customer feedback and evaluate the park based on revenues generated, park admission numbers, ticket sales, and concession sales from the financial perspective. Past trends for revenues and expenditures are reviewed to forecast for the future. Currently, we target a 5% increase in revenues and expect a 4% increase in expenditures annually. We are utilizing our marketing firm H20 Marketing to explore marketing opportunities and ticket sales to attract a diverse range of guests to the park.
The water park falls under Community Services and has a three prong leadership team. We strive for optimal leadership staff and well-trained team members are an asset to continue building the park from season to season; providing customer service and giving insight to administrative needs in the park. Rehire status is determined by review of employee attendance and any disciplinary actions. Currently, seasonal employees are given an end of year incentive for working the first and last weekends of the season; however, we are looking at incentive pay for returning seasonal workers from year to year.
We currently see 2,000 to 2,800 guests a weekend for the water park but strive to reach 3,000 or more.
We are evaluate the changes we are making to the park to see which ones are making positive improvements to the bottom line. Staff works on building relationships with local organizations and businesses to bring in additional business.
Currently, the City is funding the water park with fund balance from the General Fund and the Hotel/Motel Occupancy Tax Fund. Standard & Poor’s bond rating agency has reported that this could affect the City’s bond rating if this practice continues. The goal of the City is to fund this from current revenues of the General Fund and/or to reduce the amount needed to fund the deficit for operating the water park.
The City has the option of refunding the debt. Our bond advisors, Hilltop Securities have run some numbers which are below which could reduce the cost of the debt by reducing the interest rate and a net savings of $363,469.20 on based on rates on 02/10/2022.
Paying Off Bonds Early
The City has the option of paying off the debt with the decommissioning of the water park. Our bond advisors, Hilltop Securities have run some numbers which are below which require a $9,790,411.34 outflow of cash to pay off the remaining balance of debt but would save the City $1,837,295.83 in interest costs based on 2/10/22 numbers. Bond Advisors, Hilltop Securities, and Bond Counsel, McCall, Parkhurst, & Horton, believe this would be required if the City decided to shut down the water park and decommission the assets.
Based on guidance from Council, the City worked with our City Engineer to obtain costs for removing the park in it's entirety. It is estimated to cost over $2M and would involve:
- Remove all water slides, steel structures, play features, etc.
- Demo all sidewalks, walkways/bridges, canopy structures, etc.
- Demo wave pool, lazy river, kiddie pool, etc.
- Demo sump pits, pump pits, all 19 piers 2' below grade
- Demo all building structures
- Grading, back fill, and topsoil all areas to original elevation
- Lay bermuda sod entire area
- Install sprinkler system (water hookup to be provided)
- Subsurface utility engineering and removal
- Environmental studies
- Geotechnical investigations
- Future franchise & public utilities installations
- Operational maintenance costs to parks budget - $354,665