Parrot Island Waterpark in Fort Smith could add more slides in time for summer 2019.
This year during its third season, the city- and county-owned water park ended with $129,716 after revenues and expenses, up from $92,571 in 2016, said Richard Coleman of American Resort Management, the company that manages Parrot Island. However, slide usage is down.
Coleman recommended Thursday night at a joint study session between the Fort Smith Board of Directors and Sebastian County Quorum Court that they go forward with adding two slides for approximately $1.5 million to $1.6 million. All of the park's current slides are "body slides" where people slide down directly on the equipment. The two new slides would be approximately 62-feet tall "tube slides" where people slide down seated in an inner tube.
"Some people just prefer those types of slides," Coleman said.
In addition to accommodating more people, water parks generally add new features every few years to keep the park fresh, he said.
Sebastian County Judge David Hudson said the slide usage has to be addressed to keep the water park profitable.
"This has been an enterprise fund," he said. "It's paid for itself."
Likewise, City Administrator Carl Geffken said that given the park's income, he supports adding the slides as a new attraction.
Parrot Island is projected to have $1,572,742 in revenue and $1,386,339 in expenses in 2018, leaving it with an income of $186,339, Coleman said. Coleman did not recommend increasing ticket or season pass prices.
If the county and city officially approve the project, it will take about 14 months for the slides to be fully installed, he said.