A weekend does not a summer make, but clearly the Cape Splash aquatic center is off to a good start in 2012.
Attendance for the holiday weekend was up significantly over a year ago, mainly due to last year's cool and wet weather conditions compared to this year's record highs that drew 3,713 to the park for the weekend. In one hour of operations May 26, the park made more revenue than last year's entire first day.
The holiday weekend numbers were not as high as when the park opened in 2010, but that is to be expected.
When supporters of a park tax in 2008 were making their pitch for a half-cent sales tax increase to fund a $20 million facilities plan, they guessed that the $6.1 million aquatic center would be a break-even proposition in terms of revenue and operations. Detractors worried that the operations of the water park would go the opposite direction and put a drain on the overall operations of the city.
It's still only three years in to the facility, and it's possible the attendance could drop over the years, but so far the park has generated revenue far beyond expectations. Even after last year's weather conditions, the facility netted $144,876, city officials say. The park netted $322,208 the first year. That's nearly $470,000 in two years.
Beyond the numbers, the water park is simply a fun place for families to spend some fun time together. It's one piece of a growing number of attractions and businesses that are drawing more families to Cape Girardeau more often.
That's the kind of splash voters were hoping for.