County Set To Privatize Park Operations At Lake Gregory

(December 24)  The county of San Bernardino has entered into a three-year pilot program with a Northern California-based private company for the operation of the recreation facilities at Lake Gregory Regional Park near Crestline.
For several years the county has been losing money at the park. The deal brokered with California Parks, which will do business in San Bernardino County as Urban Parks Concessionaires, will provide 15 new recreational programs at the park and lay the ground for Urban Parks Concessionaires’ potential long-term or permanent management of the amenity.
According to Keith Lee, the director of the county’s regional parks department, “[T]his 3-year agreement (effective January 1, 2014) with Urban Parks Concessionaires (operator) will provide for outsourcing the daily management and operations of Lake Gregory Regional Park. During this agreement period, the operator will complete a feasibility study to be used as the basis of a business plan for a longer term agreement. The operator will be responsible to staff and operate the park at its expense, and in return will collect and retain all fees and revenues generated by programs/services offered at the park. The operator will also be paid management fees by the department for the first two years, with the department receiving a share of the revenues beginning in the third year.”
Lee told the board of supervisors, “In January 2012, the department released a request  for proposal (RFP) for the maintenance and operations of Lake Gregory Regional Park. A pre-bid conference was conducted and eight responsive parties from the local area and Southern California attended. Only two of those parties submitted proposals for final consideration (Rim of the World Recreation and Park District, and Urban Park Concessionaires). An evaluation committee for proposal review was comprised of staff from San Bernardino County Regional Parks administration, [county] public works department, [county] economic development agency, Los Angeles County Parks, Riverside County Parks, Lake Gregory Improvement Committee, and the Crestline Chamber of Commerce. The committee determined that the Urban Park Concessionaires proposal would best meet the county needs. Urban Parks Concessionaires is a corporate division of The California Parks Company. In business since 1975, the company has been partners with local, state and national agencies, providing service in the hospitality management and in operating a variety of recreation-oriented facilities at 22 locations. The corporate headquarters are in Red Bluff, CA with satellite offices in Pleasanton, Hemet, and in Nevada. Key business services they will be able to provide to Lake Gregory include management of the park, retail (including food and beverage), special event and wedding services, recreation, inspection for invasive species  and fee collection. The county will initially pay Urban Parks Concessionaires a management fee of $300,000 for the first year and $250,000 for the second year of park operation, with the provision that the  county receive revenue in the amount of 10 percent of gross income or $100,000 (whichever is greater) for the third year, and an exclusive option for Urban Parks Concessionaires to enter into a new long-term concession lease prior to December 31, 2016.”
In approving the arrangement, the board of supervisors made a finding that the contract with Urban Park Concessionaires would advance the county’s efforts to “operate in a fiscally-responsible and business-like manner.” Lee said “The recommendation to outsource the park is primarily based on significant actual operating losses experienced over the past fiscal years: a net loss of $798,435 during 2010-11, and a net loss of $632,734 during 2011-12. Executing this park management agreement, will likely result in continued but declining operational losses during the upcoming fiscal years. A net loss of $405,000 is projected for 2014-15, and net loss of $172,000 is projected for 2015-16. A net gain of $36,000 is projected for 2016-17, based on deteminable cost estimates, and revenue growth projections provided by the operator.”


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