July 29, 2005
Marine World expects profits to jumpVallejo's share may hit $2.4 million
By CHRIS G. DENINA, Times-Herald staff writer
Thanks to a new animal exhibit, Vallejo's Six Flags Marine World theme park is set to end a three-year slump in attendance and profits to the city.
In an annual report to the Vallejo City Council this week, park officials said the attraction could take in about $59 million in revenues this year. That's roughly $5 million more than last season.
In turn, the city can expect more money as its share of the profits, park General Manager Bill Davis told the council Tuesday. Six Flags Inc. runs the park, splitting revenues with the city. The Oklahoma City-based company has an option to buy the property.
"We feel we will beat last year's attendance significantly," said Davis, who was hired this year as the new park boss.
Last year, about 1.5 million visitors passed through the park turnstiles, spending an average of nearly $34 each on such things as food, drink and souvenirs.
This year, they may end up parting with a couple bucks more apiece, helping boost profit for both the park and city.
In May, Marine World opened its Ocean Discovery attraction, featuring dolphin, penguin and stingray pools, where visitors can get up close with the animals. In some cases, park-goers are allowed to pet the stingrays and feed the dolphins.
So far, the exhibits have paid off in terms of attendance and earnings.
That should mean a larger payoff for Vallejo, which could receive $2.4 million as its share of the profits. That's about $700,000 more than last year's cut.
The city in recent years has added the money to its coffers to pay for general fund expenses, which include police and fire service. In each of the past three years, the city received a small check as its share of profits.
The turnaround may be on the new manager's watch, but plans for the new attraction were made before Davis started the job in March.
Councilmember Joanne Schivley said Tuesday she hopes Davis carries on some of the work of the past manager, who left for unspecified reasons. Marine World has taken part in local events including a race to raise money for local groups.
"And we certainly hope you will have the same community involvement as your predecessors have had," Schivley said.
Davis said he plans to continue Marine World's participation.
"And frankly we play to try and beat those numbers as substantially as we can," Davis said.
- E-mail Chris G. Denina at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 553-6835.
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