The city of Waco is giving the Hawaiian Falls water park a $500,000 break on its rent, as long as the park builds a new attraction worth that much.
The Waco City Council approved the lease abatement agreement Tuesday for Store Master Funding, the firm that holds the park’s lease, waiving $500,000 in rent spread over seven years to offset the cost of a new structure with 12 water slides.
The city owns the water park property and structures and operated the park itself, as the Waco Water Park, until 2011. It has operated as a Hawaiian Falls park since then, and ProParks Management took over operations in Waco, along with four other Hawaiian Falls locations in Texas, in 2018.
“We own the land and the structures,” Assistant City Manager Bradley Ford said. “(Store Master Funding) owns the lease hold. So they own, effectively, the right to operate the water park. They contract with ProParks to actually do that.”
The new play structure is slated for completion before the upcoming operating season. During Tuesday’s council meeting, City Manager Wiley Stem III said the structure would belong to the city after its construction.
“We’re excited about this agreement and the partnership with ProParks Management,” Stem said.
The Waco parks department will monitor the design and construction of the play structure.
“I think it’s a wise use of our funds to make sure that we are thinking strategically about the breadth of our tourism industry, and making sure that Hawaiian Falls is a premier water park for the entire region is important,” Councilman Dillon Meek said.
The park’s annual lease payment for 2017 and 2018 was the greater of 5% of gross revenues or $75,000. It paid $101,000 in 2017 and $75,000 in 2018.
The measure also gives the city’s legal department permission to review three elements of the water park’s contract with the city. The city will amend the noncompete section of the contract to give the city more leeway to allow developments with water-related attractions. The city’s legal department will also review the insurance requirements in the existing contract, along with the sections covering sovereign immunity and indemnification.