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Sun Splash reports good year

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Apr 11, 2024

The transition of Sun Splash Family Waterpark from city operation to a public-private partnership has resulted in more revenue and greater attendance.

“Since 2017, one of the things that I continued to push for was to privatize Sun Splash because I knew someone that does that for a living will do that much better than a government entity,” said Mayor John Gunter during Cape Coral City Council’s workshop Wednesday. “Thank you for all of your hard work and changing the makeup of Sun Splash. I think we have an even better amenity today than when we were operating it. There is no burden on the taxpayers to have to subsidize it.”

Councilmember Dan Sheppard agreed.

“This was a subject that we took a beating on for privatizing it and having professionals of water parks take over. Even though it’s an asset to the city, it was a burden to the taxpayer. Now it’s nothing but an asset, a better asset. A profit for the taxpayer now.”

ProParks President Curt Caffey said for the 2023 season, Sun Splash grew in revenue and attendance. He said the goal is to create safe family fun that is sustainable at a value for their guest that is affordable.

“Many families are struggling right now,” Caffey said, adding that the affordability comes from season passes, day visits, and resident passes with additional add-ons.

Last season they were able to provide a longer season, for a total of 169 days, which grew the attendance to 162,872.

“The more operating days we provide, the more value to the consumer. Our key to success — fun for everyone. On a daily basis our team works really hard,” he said of having that repeat experience for attendees. “The park doesn’t pick up and move, nor does the consumer.”

With more operating days, the rental income also grew for the city.

“We saw a significant increase in the amount of rent. We are very pleased to be able to provide this positive trend,” Caffey said.

In 2022, ProParks paid $360,000 plus sales tax for the lease payment, compared to $573,342 in 2023 as rent to the city.

The presentation shifted to looking ahead into 2025 for the city-owned water park.

“We are excited to continue to invest in the park. We added over 35 cabanas, improved the kid’s area, refurbishment of water slides, lazy river and food and beverage enhancements,” he said.

Caffey said they are also looking forward to adding an additional attraction — a wave pool, which will be installed in the fall.