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Friday, July 11, 2014

Waterpark turns in splashy 2008 numbers, profit

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The King's Pointe outdoor waterpark saved the best for last.

The busiest day of the season was Sunday on its final weekend of operation, when an estimated crowd of up to 1,200 people were in the park at once - as close as it has ever come to its maximum capacity of 1,500.

"It was pretty wild. The lines were all the way down the slide towers and across the ground around the slides," said King's Pointe Manager Jason Havey. "People were having a great time to end the summer."

The park closed on Monday with total season attendance expected to top 60,000 despite a slow start with heavy rains in June. Numbers are up almost 20 percent over the inaugural season in 2007.

Both July and August exceeded the park's goals, with crowds reaching 1,000 people several times.

The outdoor waterpark hosted an employees' day cookout party Wednesday. "We wanted to thank our year-around people for a huge amount of work they put in to help make this summer such a success," Havey said.

Immediately following, work began to circulate the chlorine out of the water so that pools can be drained, pipes blown clean and winterization begun. There are some slide maintenance and painting projects to be done this fall as well.

Havey is putting together a budgeting "wish list" topped by a proposal for a permanent food venue inside the outdoor park.

"We underestimated the food and beverage sales that would be taking place in the park. It's a good problem to have, but depending on what we have available to spend, a permanent food location would be at the top of our list," he said.

"We have a great mix of rides now, but eventually, we will want to add more there, too."

Meanwhile, the resort hotel performed "signifiantly better" than the city's expectations.

"It was a great summer - we finished August at over 80 percent occupancy, and we had one stretch in August with 13 out of 15 days completely sold out," Havey said.

July and August both turned in gross operating profits, with the money to be plowed right back into marketing "to keep this freight train rolling," the manager laughed.

The 100-room hotel's openeing in 2007 was delayed until late in the season, costing it a lot of momentum and resulting in slow winter months well below occupancy hopes.

"This year we have that momentum going into the slowe months, and we have the brand awareness that we didn't have yet last year. We have more groups and corporate business, and already I can tell you that things are looking better for the coming season than they were last winter," Havey explained. "We will be adding some new specials as well to boost the season."

Banquet bookings have also been a pleasant surprise. "We have literally had a wedding reception almost every weekend," the manager reported.

For now, it's a brief time to catch their breath for the staff.

"We have to regroup after a big summer, and get to all those projects we haven't had a chance to do because it has been so busy," Havey said.

While the outdoor park is closed, the indoor waterpark is operating this month Thursdays through Sundays, 4-9 or 10 p.m. Family Passes are $300 (up to five people), or Single Passes are $175, valid through next May.

King's Pointe is a community-owned resort, a rarity for Iowa.

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