Preparing for the future
With the current season under way, the partners are already looking toward the future. They are making plans to ensure the attraction’s financial stability by reaching out to corporate sponsors and other donors.
Other plans include building a petting park stocked with small animals, installing a children’s play area and expanding the Eastern Gate Marketplace.
Christy said those projects will cost about $125,000, and the partners are seeking corporate and individual sponsors to help cover the cost. He said officials hope to complete those features by 2014.
But the key to securing the attraction’s financial future is paying off its $2.54 million debt.
Christy said the partners are making progress toward retiring the debt, but he declined to speculate on how long that might take.
“Somebody might come along tomorrow and write a check for it,” he said. “It happens all the time. People that believe in a cause will give to the cause, and so I don’t want to put limits on God.”
Christy did say the partners have raised more than $200,000 in contributions so far.
Butler said retiring the debt is the top priority for attraction officials.
“It’s just something that’s very important to us — more important than ever,” he said.