ROCKLIN (CBS13) — It was touted as a way to bring in tourism dollars to Rocklin, but has it become a money pit? The Rocklin City Council approved $300,000 for start-up costs when new operators took over Quarry Park last Spring, and they just received nearly $170,000 in additional money.
This city-owner property had so much promise, but problems with the former operator led to a lawsuit. Now this new infusion of cash has some residents asking questions.
Angela Patterson wants to know where her taxpayer dollars are being spent after the Rocklin city council approved $166K for Quarry Park on Tuesday, and she’s not alone.
“I have to say it’s very surprising and frustrating to hear more money will be given to Quarry Park when we are hearing about cuts going on at the schools,” Patterson said. “I think a lot of the money could go to better things, art programs, music programs, the library.”
Quarry Park opened in 2018 with rock climbing, zip lines and bungee jumping. Many had high hopes, but within a year, the city terminated its contract with the former operator and filed a lawsuit against them. A new group, Adventure Operations, took over, telling CBS13 they received no records from the previous management.
“They put together a plan based on expected attendance and sales of tickets,” said Rocklin City Councilman Ken Broadway.
Broadway says a shortfall happened when 20% of the 36,000 visitors last year turned out to be season ticket holders, and the former operator had already collected approximately $400,000.
“So you forget that you have the cost, at least operationally, of the park and that created a burden for them,” Broadway said.
The city says it expected to help them bridge that gap if need be and set money aside. The new operator is eating the rest.
Despite the bailout, the city says the park is headed in the right direction, spending more than $1 million in marketing to bring people to Rocklin, and it seems to be working.
They say nine out of 10 park visitors are from outside the area and spend money at other area businesses.
“We believe given their track record, expenditures at the park, trends and return on their investment, that they will turn enough to cover costs and produce a profit,” Broadway said.