Monday, May 28, 2007

Family Water Play Facility

On March 27 2007 bids came in several million dollars higher than expected.

What the newbor reported March:
he city has just under $15 million allocated for the park. The $11.75 million bid was almost $3 million higher than what the city had expected bids to come in at.

What is the water park?

The 4-acre Family Water Play Facility would be built at the Puerto Penasco Swim Lagoon, at the southwest corner of Central Park. It would feature 4 large slides - the tallest of which would be 45 feet, a lazy river for people to float around the park on rubber tubes, a swimming pool, a youth play area with slides, and a "sprayground" for tots. There also would be picnic areas, an education center, and other amenities.

"The purpose is not to be Water World or Raging Waters, but small enough for a family to enjoy and afford," Parks and Recreation Director Annabell Holland said.

The water park originally was approved by the City Council in 2001. But, as the economy headed into a downturn, city officials became worried about the public's perception of adding amenities, and whether they even would be able to afford to visit the park if it were built.

"What would have happened is something so positive would have had so much negative energy around it," Holland said.

The project came to life again last year, and city officials had planned for the park to be completed and open by next summer. If the City Council accepts one of the new bids that come in, the park now would open in 2009.

Where is the money coming from?

Some have questioned how the city can afford a $15 million water park while essential services such as police and fire protection have been reduced. The answer is in where the money comes from. Or maybe more appropriately, where it doesn't come from.

None of the money to build the park would come from the city's General Fund. The General Fund is the city's largest source of unrestricted money. Most of it is used to pay for the city's operations, such as payroll.

The bulk of the park's money - more than $9 million - is from money taken in by the city's recreation department and from fees paid by developers. The first, about $4 million, can only be used for recreation projects that will generate revenue. The second can be used only for parks.

The rest of the money mostly comes from grants and donations targeted for parks - or in some cases for the water park specifically.

So if the city decides to not build the water park, it would need to find other recreation-based uses for the money.

"Even if the park is killed, the money can't be used on police or fire," Holland said.

She also pointed out that, once built, the park will bring in enough revenue to completely pay for its operation.

Water Park Site Plan
Water Park Section

New Bid

Project Name: Family Water Play Facility

City Project Number: PWC 8464

For Bids Opened: 05/01/07

Project Manager: Roger Ravenstad


Base Bid Total


Sierra Bay Contractors, Inc.



West Bay Builders, Inc.



BRCO Contractors, Inc.



What's next?

By reopening the bidding process, the Council gave construction companies until the end of April to once again submit a bid for building the facility. City officials say there are several reasons they expect bids to fall within their budget this time around.

The decision is scheduled for city
council on June 5, 2007.

We giving more detail soon.

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