The New Bedford water park has been an oily mess, both figuratively and literally. The park was shut down because of an oil spill just days before Labor Day.

The saga of the water park off the public beach of New Bedford has been an oily political matter. The City entered into a public-private partnership with Altitude H2O, a Texas-based private water park company. The City hoped to make some money from the deal and they had some lofty predictions to support their plans.

The City and its business partner projected an additional 5,000 cars would roll into the South End and use the City-owned parking lots. The City anticipated earning an average of $6 per car for a total of $30,000 for the summer, plus an additional $3,000 in rent from Altitude H2O. That would have been fine if the City parking kiosks actually functioned in the lots near the water park, but they didn't.

The reason the City placed the water park in an industrial waterway, dominated by fishing boats, cargo ships, commercial ferries, and pleasure boats, was to capture the revenue from the parking lots. What will the final revenue figures look like from the City parking lots with the broken kiosks?

If not for the scheme to profit from the parking lots, the water park wouldn't have been located where it is today.

The water park was closed because it was located in an area that had an oil spill. That type of industrial accident happens in industrial areas. The inflatable water park should be pulled out of the water and properly cleaned. The only way the water can be properly cleaned is if the water park is removed.

The neighbors told the City it was in the wrong place. The fishing community and others in the boating world told the City it wasn't a good idea to have the water park on the east side of the peninsula. But the City had a plan and it went ahead and jammed the park into that location.

It started as an oily process and it is ending as an oily mess.

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 and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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