The next time you go to Sandy Beach Water Park, it won't cost as much.
A frequent complaint from families visiting Sandy Beach was that there was a per person fee charged to get inside the Lake Tobesofkee Recreation Area where the water park is located.
For instance, a family of four paid $12 in parking fees just to get into Tobesofkee and then another $52 to get into the water park.
Now it costs just $5 to park. That's because the Macon-Bibb County Commission lowered the fee this season from $3 per person to $5 per vehicle.
Commissioner Joe Allen, who represents the district where Lake Tobesofkee is located, said he's hopeful more people will visit the west Bibb recreation area with the cheaper fee.
"You have to weigh are you trying to get people in and trying to get them to go back or trying to get people in, but they won't come back because the fees are so high?" said Allen.
Results so far have been promising.
"What we've seen is an increase in our foot traffic through the water park because now it's more affordable," said Joelle Goodwin, marketing and administrative manger for Sandy Beach Water Park, which opened for the season Memorial Day weekend.
There is also $30 parking pass available for people who purchase season passes to Sandy Beach. Passenger vans are charged $15 to enter the park.
Sandy Beach sale
In 2017, Jeff Ellis Management began managing the park after financial issues with the first owner forced the bank to take over.
There were 25,000 people who visited Sandy Beach in 2017, and 26,000 are expected to come this summer, Greg Hays, who is the court-appointed receiver of the water park, said at an April County Commission meeting.
A receivership occurs when a property is involved in a bankruptcy.
About $4 million has been invested in the park, which opened in 2014 and features a lazy river, 100,000-gallon wave pool and more.
There was $318,000 in gross revenue in 2017, and $400,000 is projected for this summer. The original goal before the park opened was upward of $700,000 in gross revenue, Hays said.
"What we were hoping for is to have a very strong season and sell the water park," he said. "We’re looking for a local operator to buy the water park and (who) is willing to spend the capital on it."
The county does not have a financial stake in the ownership of the park but does get 1 percent to 1.5 percent of gross revenue from Sandy Beach.
About $248,000 of Macon-Bibb money went to infrastructure improvements for the project.