Posted 12 months ago
By John Axtell
Hot Springs voters have approved the purchase of the privately-owned Evans Plunge water park, but just barely. The proposal, the result of a petition drive passed by just 11 votes out of 749 cast…380-369 or 51-49%.
The issue drew a 30% voter turnout, which Hot Springs City Administrator Harley Lux calls excellent and says shows again that every vote counts.
The election allows the city to borrow up to $1.9-million dollars to purchase the warm mineral water pool that is the oldest tourist attraction in the Black Hills. That’s half-a-million over the current tax valuation, but no sale price has been set.
Lux and two city council members who were given the chance to review the Evans Plunge books covering the past 10 years have said the pool and spa generates enough annual revenue to cover operating costs and the annual payment of a 20-year 3% loan for the purchase…and still have about $50,000 in net profit.
Joe Lux, not related to the city administrator, headed a group of businessmen also interested in buying the water park. He told the Hot Springs Star that he was disappointed but not surprised by the outcome…and wished the city well because he has doubts about the numbers cited by supporters of the city purchase.