Widgets Magazine
  • Plans move forward for city-owned surf park

    The MAPS3 board voted yesterday to seek construction bids for a proposed double occupancy surf machine to be located along the Oklahoma River.

    The facility would cost $1.45 million and would come from $7.9 million in excess MAPS funds that were allocated to the Boathouse Foundation as part of improving the MAPS 3 whitewater facility that opened in 2016.

    An engineer from Hornbeek Blatt Architects told the board that the facility would generate additional revenue for the complex as the new facility would bring more visitors and revenues, especially through repeat visitors seeking to improve the skill on a surf or body board.

    Since opening, the whitewater facility has proven expensive to operate and has contributed to sizeable loses for the foundation which manages the several river-based facilities on behalf of the city. Earlier this week, city council voted to provide $1.5M to the foundation in additional funding to help cover a $3M annual cost.

    Last June, the MAPS3 board also approved $2 million in additional funding. Along with the excess MAPS funds, taxpayers have provided nearly $11.5 million to the foundation in just over a year. As a part of studies and an independent financial audit, several personnel and board changes were mandated.

    The surf machine uses turbines to pump a continuous flow of water across a soft neoprene surface similar to a trampoline.

    Construction bids are due at the end of October with work starting in November with a targeted opening of spring 2020.

    The facility would be located directly next to the main whitewater structure and add to other river attractions such as ziplines, an exercise park, and bike pump track.

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