The East Bay Regional Park District opened the bidding process last Friday for someone to save the waterslides, an effort supported by Pleasanton residents who have appeared at public meetings for the last year and a half to urge officials to keep the facility open and include it in long-range plans.
Proposals must be received by 4 p.m. Dec. 20, but it is doubtful whether the facility would be open for the 2013 season, according to Jim O'Connor, assistant general manager of the East Bay Regional Park District. The developer would need to have funding in place to get permits, including a building permit from Pleasanton, and health and safety permits as well as others from the county that would require inspections.
"It's a hybrid between a public pool and an amusement park," O'Connor said. "State laws will apply as well."
The four waterslides are located on about 3.5 acres, which include a maintenance building, office, storage, separate men's and women's restrooms with dressing areas and lockers, and a picnic area with a shade structure, picnic tables and barbeques. Renovated or replaced facilities, besides the slides themselves, will have to be ADA compliant.
Last month, Water Ventures, a water park developer based in Lake Forest, said in a comprehensive report on the waterslides for the Park District that necessary improvements would cost $885,100. O'Connor said that after adding engineering costs, permitting and inspections, the cost would be closer to $1.4 million.
The Rapids waterslides were opened in 1981 by Glenn Kierstad under a 25-year contract. After its expiration, the operation continued with year-to-year agreements with its season running from May through September.
Inspections last winter led the Park District to conclude that the facility had too many safety issues to open for the 2012 season. Kierstad said at a public meeting in June that when he was put on a year-to-year lease he could not afford to make capital improvements.
The new concession agreement is being offered for a term of five years with an option of extending another five years.
Proposals for the waterslide facility must also include a marketing plan, according to the request for proposals, which stated, "The district has a vested interest in the park performing well and making money."
Kierstad said the waterslides brought $90,000 per season in concession and parking fees to the Park District.
The new proposal guidelines state that the concessionaire must pay the district 10% of the gross receipts for entry fees, picnic fees, and the sale of snacks and beverages. The concessionaire would also pay a maintenance fee of 5% of the gross receipts.
The Park District is planning two group visits to the site in November for those developing proposals, which will also be a chance for them to ask questions.