The fallout from the ice storm continues at Otter Creek Park.
When the power went out at the Conference Center, it got cold. And when it got cold, the pipes burst. And when the pipes burst, water ruined the carpeting and drywall. Workers have been out at the Park the last few weeks making repairs.
Rather than just leave the place in shambles, Metro Parks is spending about $9,000 to fix it, according to Parks spokesperson Jason Cissell, who added that five weddings scheduled this spring will bring in enough revenue ($10K) to cover the costs.
But the bigger picture is that the fix-up has to take place to make the Park presentable enough that it will get responses to a Request for Proposal being released in the next two weeks. Metro Parks is hopeful that an organization will come in and operate the park on at least a revenue-neutral basis to the city’s budget. Cissell said it would be nice, though, if an operator could return a dividend.
“Our main goal is to provide recreational activities at no cost to the taxpayer,” he said.
Sounds like a tall order for any operator. Cissell said Metro Parks has heard from 15 parties interested in seeing the RFP, and has gone out and researched a half-dozen firms who operate concessions at parks throughout the U.S. The RFP will be a hefty document, with details of the park’s various long-term plans and details of the facilities.
But it will be up to the operator to figure out a way to make money, presumably through lodge and cabin rentals, concessions and activity fees. Fans of the park are hopeful. If a proposal requires modest changes, the park could re-open under a new operator as early as this summer.