DECATUR — The Decatur Park District’s tentative budget for next year shows an unexpected decrease in revenue for the Overlook Adventure Mini Golf Course, though the Nelson Park facility is expected to make more money next year with the addition of a ropes course and batting cages.
The park district’s 2017-18 annual budget likely won’t be approved in its final form until June. It has to receive preliminary approval from the Decatur Park Board at the May 3 meeting, then the budget ordinance be on display for 30 days before it can be officially approved by the board.
The numbers in what park district Chief Financial Officer Rodney Buhr called the “working document” show the mini golf course had brought in $161,215.79 through March 23 — 29,266.01 less than the course made through March 18, 2016.
The park district had budgeted an increase of revenue — $215,000 — for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Though the fiscal year doesn’t end until May 1, the course is still likely to finish well below what was budgeted.
Next year’s budget reflects a drop in revenue for the mini golf course, projecting $175,000 for 2017-18.
“We knew that anytime you open a new facility, you’re going to get a spike, then it’s going to level off,” said Bill Clevenger, park district executive director. “At some point operations tend to stabilize and we anticipate 30,000 rounds annually. Some years you’re going to have more, and some years you’re going to have less because of the weather.”
Clevenger said the addition of the ropes course and, soon, batting cages will further help stabilize the mini golf course’s business and create more revenue for the area overall. Next year’s budget proposal has revenue of $99,000 for the ropes course and $10,500 for the batting cage, which is scheduled to open in mid-May.
“Use is high with the ropes course right now and we feel like both of those items will be good revenue producers,” Clevenger said.
The mini golf course opened at Nelson Park in July 2014 with a more than $3 million price tag. The ropes course opened April 1 and cost $580,000; the batting cages cost $372,240 — both were purchased in part through Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grants.
Buhr said overall the amount of changes in the budget compared with last year’s budget are limited. Total operating revenues in next year’s budget are expected to be $20,000 more than this year’s and expenses $31,000 more, a 0.23 percent increase.
“I don’t want to say it’s not an exciting budget, but there weren’t a lot of changes,” said Buhr, whose office has been working on the budget for five months. “It’s very comparable to what we had last year.”
Water park update
The park board heard an update on the design of its $9.2 million aquatics center and approved a bid for the slides with The Pool Company out of Tacoma, Wash.
In February the board picked a preliminary design option that included a water slide package with features not previously seen outside of Europe. That option included four slides, but the board asked for bids that included a three-slide package and alternates for a fourth and fifth slide.
Architectural Expressions Managing Senior Partner Lawrence Livergood said The Pool Company is the North American installation contractor for Klarer Water Slides, the designer of the type of slides that will be featured at the new water park.
The three slides guaranteed to be in the package are the Freestyle (standing) slide, the Infinity Jump (closed with LED images) and the Triple Racer (three-lane race slide). Depending on where the budget is at — the park district is committed to staying below the $9.2 million price tag — the fourth slide would either be the High Fly slide originally part of the package chosen by the park district, or the False Start slide, which was described as a high-speed drop slide with a 15-foot drop out a trap door.
Another option was to replace the freestyle standing slide with the Magic Twice slide, a two-lane racing slide with a transparent wall between the racers.
“The purpose of all the alternates is to ensure there’s a package here that will meet the budget concerns down the road,” Livergood said. “These alternate bids stay open for a period of 180 days, so we have time to figure out where the sweet spot of the budget and the interest in the type of ride staff is looking at meet.”
Dog park pavilion approved
Christy Foltz Inc., a construction company in Decatur, was approved as the contractor for the Nelson Park Dog Park Pavilion and great lawn restrooms.
Christy Foltz’s bid for the pavilion was $271,613 and the restrooms $161,363.