Great Wolf Lodge sounds like a great addition

Great Wolf Lodge

From the earliest reports, the proposal to build an indoor water park in Gilroy sounds as exciting as going down one of the slides.
It suggests an opportunity to advance Gilroy by providing jobs, bringing in tax revenue and making the city a destination.
Great Wolf Lodge, a Wisconsin-based combination hotel and waterpark operator, has 18 parks across the country and one in Canada. Their properties are well regarded, if you measure their performance by the modern barometer of positive reviews on travel sites. Their family places are geared to all ages. There are even adult beverages available.
The company is looking at land adjacent to Gilroy Gardens, for which the city already paid $12.5 million and gets only rent fees of $112,000 a year over the five years preceding 2015, according to the most recent figures released.
Some of the city’s promised perks, as described by a Lodge press release,  include hotel and property taxes that would contribute to city services; 500 permanent jobs and 1,500 construction jobs; and possibly as many as 500,000 new visitors to Gilroy a year.
They would be high-end visitors, as prices for a room range from $175 to $425 a night.
On the downside, it wouldn’t be an oasis for locals craving to beat the heat for a day. You have to stay at the hotel In order to use the amenities, which may also include mini-golf, an arcade, restaurants, ziplines, a theater and a bowling alley. The company promises to negotiate some “Gilroy days” for local needy families to have a chance to participate.
The other issue is traffic on Hecker Pass, which already often backs up for miles, especially when there are events at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds or the annual mudslides and repair work.
The company says that with 700 rooms available and many people choosing to drive once and spend most of their time at the facilities, it won’t boost traffic that much. That’s sort of a mixed blessing. Will Gilroy be able to entice visitors to other attractions, like Gilroy Gardens, downtown or the Outlets? That’s debatable. It would take some real enterprise on the part of the local visitor’s bureau. After all, how many people who stay at a destination resort like Disneyland venture out into downtown Anaheim or even know that there is a downtown Anaheim?
City officials in Gilroy have less than a month left to negotiate exclusively with the company, which is also considering an alternate location in Brentwood. A tough negotiator, the company got the city of Garden Grove to spend $100 million from taxpayers to help fund its 603-room resort there, claiming the city would earn back at least $8 million a year in bed taxes, and millions more in sales tax.
Gilroy’s main economic development objective is to bring industry and jobs to the city. This doesn’t quite meet the standard that a big manufacturer would offer, but it’s a good use of the land, and destination revenues help earn much-needed dollars to fund local services. Depending, of course, on what the city gives up in negotiations.
We have yet to see a proposal, but what we’ve seen sounds interesting. Negotiations are shielded from the public until there is something formal to vote on. Citizens should anxiously await the information to determine whether the city should leap into the water.

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