City Parking Lots Can’t Collect Money from Water Park [OPINION]
The City of New Bedford's Park Board recently entered into a deal with a private water park company. The City's profit is projected to come from parking fees.
The deal between the City of New Bedford and Altitude H2O, a Texas-based private provider of water parks, has been controversial. The neighbors in that residential neighborhood have raised multiple concerns about the location and the process. In fact, Mary Rapoza, who is the current director of the Park Department, has admitted she failed in multiple ways on the required permits.
Now we have learned that the City is currently incapable of collecting the vast majority of the revenue from the water park operation. The potentially for-profit parking lots located near the water park are under the control of Mary Rapoza and the Park Department for which she works.
The kiosks at the parking lots don't work. Out-of-towners can't use the kiosks to pay for a day pass at the parking lots. The City's business model is built on out-of-towners coming into the city to use the park and to pay for parking.
Peter Boswell, the chairman of the Park Board, confirmed the kiosks don't work on my radio program this past Monday.
According to City documents in my possession, the City and Altitude H2O project an additional 5,000 cars coming into New Bedford due to the water park. This public-private partnership projects the average parking fee will be $6 for a projected increase of $30,000 from the water park for the City.
The water park is open but the City can't collect its money. Altitude H2O, a private company, is collecting their money. The City will get $3,000 this year from its business partner as a rent. Until it fixes its parking kiosks, it will collect none of the $30,000 that is projected.
Some have blamed the problems with the kiosks on the current virus in the City's computer system. However, I have verified that the kiosks have been out of order for a number of weeks.
This water park has caused lots of turmoil, and now it appears it was all for nothing.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.