Riverquarium and Chehaw on track to being self sufficient - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Riverquarium and Chehaw on track to being self sufficient

June 11, 2008

Albany--Every year hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars help to keep two major Albany attractions open.

But both the Flint Riverquarium and the Parks at Chehaw are trying to change that.

They hope new activities and attractions will hopefully bring in more visitors, and ween them off public money.

"We now provide for about 66 to 67 percent of our operating revenue," Scott Loehr, Flint Riverquarium CEO.

This fiscal year the Riverquarium's budget is close to 1.8 million dollars.

Managers are working to make fewer of those dollars come from your taxes.

"This organization works everyday to generate as much revenue and possible, grow it's revenue through new programs new exhibitions, and collaborations," said Loehr.

The traveling Catfish Planet exhibition is one of them.

"Our new large format movie whales is playing, and the River Aquarium is finishing up a new aviary that will house birds of the flint river basin," said Loehr.

The parks at Chehaw is trying some things of its own to draw in more people and more dollars.

"We want to develop some additional camping areas near the waterfront, we want to open up the waterfront with canoe rentals, a larger boat dock, and maybe a food concession stand," said Doug Porter, Chehaw Executive Director.

For many years the park has relied on SPLOST dollars and has made enormous improvements.

Chehaw wants to use that tax money and leverage it with private fundraising.

Chehaw plans to install a disc golf course through the park this summer and also introduce a Serval Cat Exhibition.

"I don't see why the park could eventually get off of tax dollars and be self supporting," said Porter.

Becoming self upporting is the what both entities hope for in the future.

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