Debt drama at TRAC continues

PASCO, Wash. -- KEPR is looking more closely at the future of the TRAC. The lease on the building has been extended. That gives the City of Pasco and Franklin County 10 more years to make changes and make money.

The parking lot is empty and the doors are locked. This is a typical weekday outside TRAC in Pasco. But inside, the facility is busy.. Prepping for the weekend's events. It's days like these that cost money but don't make money. It puts a burden on city and county budgets.

Commissioner Brad Peck says, "It would be uncommon for a public facility like TRAC not to lose some money. The question is how much can we afford to lose?"

Last year the city of Pasco and Franklin County shoveled out $400,000 dollars to help pay for TRAC and that was just to break even. That's where the idea of a water park comes in.

Peck continues, "Possibly adding a water park without taking away what's at TRAC now."
Local, Kevin Moore chimes, in, "Yeah, I would definitely go to a water park out here."

But would that really make up for the deficit? Last year, water parks on the westside barely broke even and those places have been hurting the last five years. Yet people think it could be different here.

"Everyone would come.. kids parents, families, grandparents."

It takes about 40,000 visitors a year for an average water park to gain profit; 100 or so visitors per day.

If it's an indoor park open year-round, it would still be a decade before a dent was made in the debt that's already been run up for the TRAC.
The other option is ditching TRAC all together.

Peck says, "Build an equivalent or better replacement."

Changing TRAC's purpose all together in hopes of getting more consistent money flow. Community members have been pushing commissioners away from this option, to keep the local Ag industry alive. It would take public hearings and approvals to make this happen.

"Hopefully we can get there, but theres still some work to do," Peck concludes.

TRAC is working on efforts to save money, including adding solar panels next year. They hope this can help cut electricity costs in the long run.