Dodge City water park to be sales tax project

tax

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — After 14 years of discussion, plans to open a water park in Dodge City took another step toward reality after a joint Dodge City and Ford County commission approved making the project eligible for funding from a special sales tax.

The commissioners also voted Monday to make the first $50,000 available for initial designs of a proposed $10 million water park, The Dodge City Daily Globe reported (http://bit.ly/1gZ0xY4 ). The vote sends the project back to a sales tax project committee to work with city staff and a consultant on details for the park.

If all goes as planned, the park could open in May 2016, Dodge City Manager Cherise Tieben said.

“I think it’s time to keep the dream alive,” Ford County commissioner Danny Gillum said.

The joint commission also extended the city’s existing relationship with Water’s Edge, a water park design firm based in Lenexa, and approved paying the firm about $750,000 during the design and construction process.

Water’s Edge consultants have projected the park could draw about 60,000 visitors a year from a 100-mile region.

Commissioners acknowledged questions such as location, management and whether the projections by Water’s Edge are reliable have yet to be answered.

It would have an annual budget of about $350,000, including pay for 13 lifeguards and four or five staff members. The attraction is expected to generate about $300,000 in revenue, meaning it would need an annual subsidy from the “Why Not Dodge” sales tax fund.

“All of these quality of life projects, they are not (net) revenue bearing,” Tieben said. “They are all operated with a subsidy.”

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Information from: The Dodge City (Kan.) Globe, http://www.dodgeglobe.com

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