Water park a place of transition
The Wapakoneta WaterPark has undergone several transitions in its history — financially, in the way it operates and the amenities it offers.
The ability to change and expand over the years translated into a five-year period where the water park turned a profit, totaling $110,000.
The park opened in the 1930s as a rectangular swimming pool, with the city paying the YMCA to run it.
As attendance dwindled over the years, ownership changed and it was decided to expand the pool into a water park that would offer slides, diving boards and other amenities. $1.3 million was spent to build what would become the water park in 2007, and the new facility opened its doors in the summer of 2008.
2013 was the first year it failed to profit, with a net loss of $55,000.
Jack Hayzlett, General Manager of the Wapakoneta WaterPark, attributed this loss to cooler temperatures that made people less inclined to come.
"It's absolutely attributable to weather," Hayzlett said. "Last summer it was beautiful to be outside because it was between 72 and 82 degrees every weekend, but that's not when people come to the water park."
To put this in perspective, Hayzlett said there were 13 days last summer where temperatures were 88 degrees or higher. In 2012, there were 44 days where temperatures reached that level. When the weather is that hot, the water park averages 1,300 people a day. When it is between 82 and 85 degrees, that average drops to around 400 people a day.
While warmer weather translates to higher profits, it cannot be controlled.
What they can control is the budget, Hayzlett said.
Part of this control has to do with the amount of hours that employees work. Starting this summer, some lifeguards and other water park employees will be on-call when temperatures are 80 degrees or less, instead of working regardless of weather. When it is over 80 degrees, on-call employees will be required to show up. A minimum of 9 employees must be present when the park is open, as mandated by the Ohio Health Department.
There are also no plans to do any remodeling this year. In 2013, $40,000 was spent on water park maintenance, including upgrades to the concession stand and the construction of a new sandbox area.
For the full story, see the Saturday, March 1 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.