Chehaw SPLOST Proposal Round VII Detailed
CAPITAL MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR
Creekside Building Renovations $150,000
The Creekside Building has been hit with a host of maintenance issues. The computer controller for the HVAC system was struck by lightning. The HVAC is 13 years old and we have put over $20,000 into keeping the system running. The temperature can only be controlled manually with a thermostat that I put inside the unit itself. The roof leaks in four places that we must continually patch. The carpet needs to be replaced. The room divider is broken and needs to be replaced as it takes at least two people to open or close it. The chairs in the conference room do not stay raised.
Road and Parking Lot Paving and Repair $750,000
The Zoo parking lot has not been resurfaced in years, if ever, and was just a seal coat and not even asphalt when originally done. The road to the new campground needs to be widened and repaved. The service roads in the old campground and throughout the Park need new surface gravel.
The walkways and trails need to be renovated. Sections of the boardwalk were damaged in the 1994 flood and never repaired. The perimeter fencing is still not up to AZA standards. Railings along the Zoo path are over 35 years old and need to be replaced. The railings on the swinging bridge are also outdated and not up to code. The Zoo fence needs to be moved in closer in order to open the area up to the public.
The train system is over 30 years old and includes more than 7500 ties with an expected lifespan of 15-20 years. We have replaced approximately 600 but the remaining 6900 will all need to be replaced within the next five years. This is not feasible, but we must make a serious effort to attempt replacing 500 each year.
All bathrooms need to be updated and have plumbing and fixtures over 20 years old. The RV bathroom needs to be retrofitted for an HVAC system as there is presently no heat or air in it. The thatched roofs throughout the Zoo Plaza are falling off and in need of immediate repair. The Plaza renovation is now 20 years old with roofs that need to be replaced on five year intervals. The Education Amphitheater needs a new roof immediately. The Ticket Booth is also in desperate need of renovation.
The three maintenance trucks are 20 years old and completely used up. It takes enormous amounts of money and resources trying to keep them running. Within the year, two will need completely new engines. They look like, and are, junk and do not represent the Park well. Guest Services needs more than one vehicle. The Education Department is doubling each year and the newest vehicle for outreach programs is a 15 year old donated van with over 250,000 miles from Albany Honda. The Zoo has increased its staff without increasing staff costs. They need three more utility vehicles to complete their work.
We need a skid steer to be able to move materials and do light earth work within the exhibits. The attachments available for use with a skid steer cover everything we do ourselves. We also need a man lift for Festival of Lights setup as well as tree work. We routinely rent these machines which is a huge drain on operating costs.
Underground (Water and Electric) $50,000
The old campground water system is rapidly deteriorating with the black pipe that was initially installed exceeding its lifespan. We must dig up and repair leaks at least 10 times a year. There is a ground fault in the campground system somewhere that needs to be found. The new digital surge protectors in RVs are not compatible with our power.
The original power unit on the train was replaced with a used locomotive and handicapped car in the 90s. The remaining four cars are over 40 years old and replacement parts are no longer available except by special order or manufacture. We need to upgrade the cars to a newer system that is compatible with the locomotive which also needs to be renovated. The engine also needs to be replaced.
Zoo Exhibits $900,000
The Zoo must be updated to attract and retain guests. We are losing exhibits to deteriorating infrastructure. The bison had to be moved because we couldn’t risk them escaping from rotten fencing. The flamingo exhibit has taken three years to renovate. The focus needs to be on creating a couple of large exhibits and a multitude of smaller exhibits over a five year span with something new every 4-6 months. The public is constantly requesting a big cat exhibit. We are currently developing a red wolf recovery center with matching funds from US Fish & Wildlife.
Festival of Lights $100,000
It has been four years since renovating Festival of Lights. It needs to be expanded and reinvented in order to retain and attract guests. We need another 10 complex light displays to reach the next level.
Fiber Optics and Internet Services $200,000
The fiber optic system needs to be expanded into the Zoo in order to provide video feeds of some animals. The BMX area, RC area, and new campground need to be connected to the internet.
New Storage Buildings $200,000
We have outgrown our storage space by providing new services like weddings, Festival of Lights, concerts, etc. These need to be kept indoors and out of the weather. We also need storage or covers for equipment and vehicles.
Splash Park $300,000
The public has been clamoring for a water feature at Chehaw. The financials for a full water park do not work, however, a large splash park will. It will provide a summer attraction to the Park at a very low revenue period and be relatively low maintenance compared to a water park.
Zip Line $75,000
The public has also been very excited about the possibility of a zip line. We cannot support a large complex of sip lines, but a few smaller rides can work. Most of the ground work and preplanning has already been completed.
Rental Facilities $300,000
We need several new rental facilities to increase revenue. The wedding surge has reached capacity of the Creekside Center building. We have also experienced rental growth at the Chimney area. We need a midsize facility at this area that will rent at half the price of Creekside. We also need another screened pavilion, preferably with HVAC and heat capabilities, to handle the family reunion traffic. We also need a few smaller picnic shelters around the Play Park.
Boat Ramp Renovation $100,000
When the water on Lake Chehaw is next lowered for maintenance we need to renovate the existing boat ramp. We have received tremendous support for a renovated facility in this area. Owners of expensive boats and vehicles are looking for a secure area to load and unload for the day. This will take pressure off of Cox landing which is over run during the boating season. It will also draw boaters to the campground.
Phase II Campground $500,000
In the next five years we need to be ready to build another 50 sites along the lakefront. One hundred sites in total will balance about $200,000 of income reduction from the City.
Bathroom at The Stage $75,000
As the concert venue grows in popularity a permanent, simple bathroom needs to be constructed that can handle a crowd of 200-500 people.
Dormitories for Education $100,000
Our internship program has been incredibly successful. We have replaced one full time position and one part time position with three interns. The cost savings is small, but the man hours have increased by 15%. We could increase this further if we had housing for additional interns. Each department could use one or two interns at minimum wage to replace a current existing position. In addition, we can attract groups looking for housing to do charitable work in the area. Habitat for Humanity has already shown interest.
Solar Panels (Power Generation Phase I) $500,000
We need to begin becoming energy independent. We will never be completely separated from WG&L, but we can supplement some of the power demands. Our WG&L bill is currently over $100,000 per year.
Website Expansion $10,000
We need to increase our online presence. The most efficient marketing is happening online and our new website has built the framework. We need to drastically expand its capabilities.
LED Sign $25,000
We need an LED sign on Philema to display what’s going on at the Park. Our biggest problem is getting information to our guests and this banner will reap big rewards.
Street and Safety Lighting $25,000
The road from Ticket booth to Creekside is dark and narrow. A system of decorative street lights will not only upgrade the quality of the Creekside rental facility, but minimize traffic safety issues on this narrow entry. Street lights also need to be installed on the new campground road for the same reason.