Public-private partnership may be opportunity for Rec.
When it comes to a new indoor water park in Garden City, community support that stretches beyond patronizing the venue will be key.
As with many new developments that aim to draw people to town — in this case, a $25 million project from local hotelier Amro Samy in a 22,000-square-foot indoor water park, 90-room hotel and 6,000-square-foot restaurant — local government took steps toward a sensible public-private partnership.
The Garden City Commission is pursuing incentives for the project in tax-increment financing, which would allow increased property taxes generated by the improved property to be used to finance construction of infrastructure for the project, and a community-improvement district, which would allow an additional 1 percent sales tax to be levied on patrons at the new development and the Sleep Inn and Clarion Inn, both Samy-owned properties.
The Finney County Commission agreed to allow transient guest taxes collected from the new hotel and Sleep Inn to help finance the water park.
The development at the former Garden City Fun Center property on Schulman Avenue would be a nice draw in a community improving its position as a destination for people who come here and spend money, a portion of which go into local government coffers.
At the same time, the indoor water park would offer another recreational choice for teens. Samy rightly noted as much.
"For a long time we've been looking for ways to make improvements for our younger ones," he said.
With that in mind, it would be good to hear what role the Garden City Recreation Commission might play in the new venture.
The local Rec, which once floated the idea of purchasing the vacant Fun Center, offers many good programs for youth. The Rec's participation in the new venture also is worthy of consideration amid concern over the possible impact of the new water park on the city's Big Pool, an outstanding attraction that depends on public support.
Some sort of alliance with the city's Rec may offer an opportunity to generate more interest in both water recreation opportunities — which, if possible, would make this particular public-private partnership all the more positive.