Ticket price increases could be in the future of Parrot Island Water Park in the wake of minimum wage increases and operating costs.

American Resort Management has proposed a $3 increase for day passes at Parrot Island Water Park. Resort Management CEO Richard Coleman said this increase would help absorb minimum wage increases enough to hopefully regain an annual cash flow of $200,000 for capital improvements and future maintenance of the water park.

This increase would push ticket prices to $18 for visitors taller than 4 feet, $13 for visitors shorter than 4 feet and $8 for non-swimmers. Season pass rates would not increase, according to a memo from Sebastian County Judge David Hudson.

The water park in 2020 is also expected to receive a tube flume slide, which will cost an estimated $441,000 to install. Fort Smith and Sebastian County have each been recommended to pay $121,500 to complete the slide.

City and county officials at a meeting Thursday evening committed to discuss their budget expenses for the jointly-operated water park in light of the proposed increases and project costs.

"We have a good opportunity to expand here," At-Large City Director and Vice Mayor Kevin Settle said at the meeting.

Parrot Island in 2019 brought in a net operating income of $77,528 despite revenue losses due to weather and natural disasters. The May 18 tornado cost the park more than $55,000 in damages, while the Arkansas River flood in May and June had a "major impact" on attendance. The park also experienced more than 20 rain days, which cost it an estimated $200,000.

Minimum wage in Arkansas has also climbed each year since Parrot Island opened in 2015. State minimum wage in 2020 will be $10 an hour.

"We have yet to increase our daily admission prices. We’re still pulling a positive cash flow," Coleman said, noting he would like to see the park have more revenue and sustain positive annual revenue patterns.

At-large City Director Robyn Dawson at the meeting expressed concern about how the proposed ticket increases would affect larger families who want to use the park. Coleman said the proposed price increases will generate revenue while not exceeding ticket costs of water parks in northwest Arkansas, Hot Springs and Little Rock.

Coleman also said the increase would give the park an opportunity to educate the public about season passes, which are proposed to stay the same if the daily passes increase. The 2020 season passes range from $59-$269 depending on the quality of the package and the number of people included.

The tube flume slide will be the second phase of expansion for the park from 2019-20, adding to the FlowRider Double surf rider that opened to the public in June. The slide will take riders through twists and turns while in an inner tube.

The park would not expand again until 2025, said Coleman.

Settle at the meeting said the slide would be a good addition to the park.

"We’re starting to draw people from northwest Arkansas, Tulsa, Little Rock," said Settle.