The Water Parks Are Coming!

This just in, from KTSM:

Newly constructed regional water park Camp Cohen is set to have its opening day by Memorial Day, according to city officials.

The Northeast regional water park is one of four including the Chapoteo, Lost Kingdom and Oasis Water Parks throughout the city. Each themed park is designed with local influences and incorporate a lazy river, slides, rentable cabanas, concessions, climbing walls and a learn-to-surf machine.

You remember those water parks, right? You voted for them as part of that 2012 Quality of Life bond package.

Well, no, you didn’t actually vote for water parks. You voted for parks and recreation facilities, but City Manager Tommy Gonzalez decided we needed water parks.


City Staff must have made a very convincing pitch to City Council, because they approved the water parks, even though, in the City’s best case scenario, the water parks were estimated to cost us, the taxpayers, a million dollars a year to operate.

The water parks are going to cost $8 per person to enter, even if you’re just going to sit in a lawn chair and watch your grandkids splash each other.

I predict the water parks will be as popular as the (momentarily defunct) trolley.

I’ve written about the water parks before. You can read it here, and here, and, for the most comprehensive analysis of the City’s plan, here.

In related news, the City has turned the management and marketing of the water parks over to ASM Global, the same people that run the Convention Center, Visit El Paso, and the Plaza Theatre.

This is a bit of a stretch for them, don’t you think? When ASM Global markets their facilities, they’re not trying to attract the patrons. They’re marketing to the people who rent the facilities. Convention bookers, or show promoters. ASM isn’t trying to fill the seats. That’s the promoters’ job. ASM does B2B marketing, which is lot more steak and a lot less sizzle.

And it’s interesting, isn’t it, that the City entered a market that needs promotion? They City’s not trying to get you to drive on their streets, or call 911. That’s because the transportation infrastructure, and public safety, are legitimate functions of government.

With the water parks, the City has entered into an enterprise that competes against local businesses. That money that the public spends at the water parks is money that won’t be spent at Adventure Zone, or Bob-O’s, or even at Chico’s or Lucy’s, or even at the ballpark. That money won’t be spent at the Alamo Drafthouse, or even on internet access, or secondary education, or milk for the kids.

The City’s not trying to grow the pie. The City is trying to make sure it gets a slice of our entertainment dollar. A subsidized slice, because what they figure they’re going to take in at the gate and from concessions isn’t even enough to cover the expense of running the water parks. The taxpayers will have to subsidize them.

I guess this is what District 3 Representative Cassandra Brown means when she talks about “alternate sources of revenue”.


  1. Well, let’s see now…the Rio Not So Grande is completely dry. The water utility is ready to cope by bringing water from neighboring west Texas counties where it’s bought up the water rights.

    So will these water parks be a test ground for the “toilet to tap” water experiment?

    1. You won’t even be able to afford the flush. We already pay “Water Replacement Fee”, ” Stormwater Management Fee”, and “City Franchise Fee” just for WATER (not counting Minimum water and sewer charges).

      Remember, these are the people telling you to conserve so they can waste your tax dollars wasting water and money.

  2. Interesting to note that this whole idea came up AFTER the city tried to tax Wet N Wild (which isn’t even in the city proper). They’re directly competing with WNW which is NOT in the city charter. As for the price, 8 bucks to go there? We’re stuck for more taxes because that price isn’t going to fly.

    1. Might also ask a couple of questions. Are the number of people going to be restricted and are you going to be required to wear a mask? Another reason they’re going to be a failure.

  3. These things look like a lot of fun for kids. I just hope they are affordable for them.

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