The decision to purchase the former TreeUmph! Adventure Course with its associated buildings and equipment was made at the November 27, 2018 regular Board of County Commissioners meeting.
Purchasing and Contracts Manager James Wunderle presented the agenda item to the commission “without recommendation.” Wunderle said that should the budget amendment be approved, and the discussion that should take place is the county leasing the park to a private owner, the county running the park, or selling the property. The county ultimately decided to not purchase the TreeUmph! equipment.
Commissioner Jeff Holcomb added that the general consensus when the county bid on the property, that the county did not want to run the adventure park for many reasons, including elevated insurance costs. Holcomb went on to say that if the county decided not to go through with the purchase, that another party could purchase the park and lease the land from the county.
BOCC Chairman Steve Champion said he thought the board would approve the purchase, and offer the park for sale or lease. County Administrator Len Sossamon stated he thought selling the property would be the best path.
Commissioner John Allocco said the discussion and bid at the last meeting, “Really threw me for a loop … I’ve agreed with this board probably 90% of the time.
But to me, this is a fundamental Republican Conservative foundational issue here about governance and for the government to be competing with private sector (and I know there’s going to be arguments both ways on this) is outrageous to me … We outbid a private business by $5000 who was interested in running this business. Allocco likened the purchase as bailing out a bank who made a bad business decision.
Allocco also worries about the precedent it sets for future boards.
Champion countered that goal in mind for purchasing the park with all additions and improvements intact was to protect the county’s property.
Commissioner Wayne Dukes also thought selling the property to an entity that would operate the adventure park would be the best outcome.
Dukes made the motion to approve the measure, however, a second was not immediate. Champion passed the gavel to second the motion, however the remaining members of the board voted against it. The final approval for purchase failed 3-2.